There Are No Shortcuts
Tuesday, July 23 2019
I love Instagram. My photography-loving, world-travel-loving heart delights in it.
For those of you who might not know what Instagram is, it’s a photo-sharing social network via the Internet. It’s a mobile phone application that allows you firstly, to take and then post pictures that you would like to share with fellow Instagrammers who choose to “follow” you; and secondly, that allows you to “follow” other Instagrammers whose photos interest you.
So why do I love it?
- because I love photography – I love taking pictures – I love looking at pictures – I love constantly learning and studying how to take better and more professional photographs
- because I love travelling, and getting to see and know new places in the world – and since there are many places I will most likely never get to this side of heaven, I can visit them and enjoy them vicariously through other Instagrammers
- because I miss the places I have at some time in my life called “home” – so when I see recent pictures taken of towns I know and remember in Ontario, Canada, or of places I visited years ago in Austria, the country of my heritage, then I feel that a piece of “home” has warmed my heart and my memories
- because it’s a social network that allows me, via pictures that are often worth a thousand words, firstly to keep up with loved ones who are living far away; and secondly, to allow them to feel more connected to my life as they “follow” me
- and because I use it, whenever I can, to speak of Jesus whom I know and love, and who I long that others too might know and love
So: why all this talk about Instagram? Because the other day, as I entered the App and scrolled down through all the pictures that had been posted since the night before, I saw one that spoke to me. Actually, it was the accompanying comment that most spoke to me. The photo was of a beautiful Oregon forest in the fall – and the comment read: “There are no shortcuts to any place worth going.” And that got me thinking. And my thinking got me to writing …
How true that comment is! In all realms of life. Any “place” worth going to has to be arrived at the long and hard way.
- an athlete who wants to see physical prowess and success has to practise and train hours and hours everyday
- an intelligent, scholarly professional has to study hard for years on end to achieve coveted goals
- a mature and honourable character of integrity takes a lifetime to develop
- a deep knowledge and an intimate walk of faith with God takes a lifetime and beyond to cultivate
So, yes! “There are no shortcuts to any place worth going.” Anything worth seeking, anything worth working towards, anything worth achieving has to be done whole-heartedly, or not at all. Anything worthwhile in life will always take the long, hard, uphill road to get there.
As Jesus said: ““You can enter God’s Kingdom only through the narrow gate. The highway to hell is broad, and its gate is wide for the many who choose that way. But the gateway to life is very narrow and the road is difficult, and only a few ever find it.” (Matthew 7:13-14)
The way of life here on earth is always “all or nothing” – “white or black” – the narrow gate and the narrow road to heaven, or the wide gate and the broad highway to hell. There are simply no in-betweens, no greys, no third or fourth paths that will get us to where most of us in our deepest hearts long to be.
The choices are simple, but not easy:
- day by day, in all the small and big decisions of life, you either choose shortcuts – or you choose the longer and harder way because the end is worth it
- and over a lifetime, you either choose the very narrow gateway and the difficult road to “life” which only a few find – or you choose the wide gate and the broad highway that many prefer but which lead to “death”; in essence, you choose heaven – or you choose hell
But, be certain of this: only one choice – the long and hard road, and not the shortcut – will ever get you to a place worth arriving at.
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