The ten days since returning from one of the best family holidays ever have been rough. It seems as if events have conspired to steal time, while hitting me hard both physically and emotionally. According to my Fitbit device I was averaging seven and a half hours sleep on holiday. Now I am down to six, and it isn’t enough. I am writing this post from a Warsaw hotel room. I have two more busy weeks of business travel in Eastern Europe ahead of me, and then I have to find time to write the reports that this work is generating. Church life is equally demanding and I simply don’t have time to get everything done. If I am honest there doesn’t seem to be any light at the end of the tunnel. I wish I were back in Sweden on holiday!
On our final night in Sweden Marilyn and I decided to walk the two kilometres to Hafstentoppen. The distance wasn’t an issue but the climb was in places, particularly as the ground was wet. The walk is marked by posts with blue circles on them, and by splodges of blue paint on trees and rocks. Not all of the markings are clearly visible, and we had to search around for some of them. One part of the trail involved using ropes to ascend (and later descend) a somewhat inclined rock with water running down it!
After tackling the wet rock we found ourselves at what we thought had to be the last post. The views were fantastic and we just had to be at the top of Hafstentoppen. We weren’t. Marilyn spotted another post, and another, and another. From that point we wanted every post, and every blue marked rock and tree to be the last. But they weren’t. Eventually, we found the last post standing in a cairn of rocks that marked the peak of Hafsten and provided us with some stunning views of the surrounding fjords. I could have stood there forever, but the sun was starting to disappear, and like Hansel and Gretel we needed to follow the markers home.
Sometimes life is like a walk to Hafstentoppen. We follow the markers in a given situation but never reach the end. We do all the right things, but we never ever seem to find the elusive last post. On the last night of our holiday we had no intention of giving up, particularly as it was our last opportunity to climb to Hafstentoppen. We realised that the walk might be challenging, and we knew that the wet ground might cause us some problems. But the reward of reaching the summit made the climb seem insignificant. We trusted the markers, and we followed them to the end. The walk to Hafstentoppen was a small reminder that Jesus calls us to follow Him to the end. He never said that the following would be easy, but He did promise an amazing reward.
Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. (2 Corinthians 4:16-18 NIV)