Yesterday evening I showed some people a few pictures that I had taken during my last hike in the Cairngorms. The viewers were amazed by what they saw, which of course didn’t surprise me at all. Some of the people even expressed their desire to go and see these places for themselves. But their eagerness was dampened somewhat when they learnt that it would involve seven hours of climbing. For them the view was not worth the effort required to reach it. They saw the possibility of hardship and lost interest in the goal. For me it was different. I remember when I stood on the edge of the cliff and saw the view. It was so impressive and moving that I said to my dog: “This is worth every single drop of sweat”. And the dog replied: “Of course it is”.
In today’s gospel Jesus spends time alone with the Apostles; he teaches and instructs them about his purpose. Listen again: “The Son of Man will be delivered into the hands of men; they will put him to death; and three days after he has been put to death he will rise again”. Do you remember the reaction of the Apostles? “They didn’t understand and were afraid”. They heard Jesus talking about his persecution and death, but they failed to see the happy ending.
Some people think that because they are believers life should be nice and easy. They want God to be, at the same time, an insurance company and a delivery company. Protecting their lives against obstacles, hardships and sufferings. His job is to keep their lives on an even keel. This way of thinking is very dangerous because it leads us astray and ends in disaster.
The Bible never promises a happy and untroubled life. Human life is of its nature difficult. Everybody has to struggle to live his or her life – on different levels and in different ways. No one escapes from this. So the question arises: “what is the point of being a Christian?”
The answer is simple: faith helps us to make sense of the things that happen in our lives. To an extend faith may help us to avoid some problems. Certainly faith always gives us strength to fight against obstacles or to bear the unbearable. Being a believer makes life bearable, because we know the reward that comes at the end: a reward that is worth every last drop of our sweat and tears.