Antigua boasts 365 beaches, one for each day of the year. I dispute the math, but I do have a favorite beach. It’s called Seaforth. Picture an almost-deserted mile of curving white sand cupped by lumpy green mountains and water in deepening shades of turquoise. It’s a slice of heaven.
But there’s a problem. This beach is tucked away in the backlands at the end of a hazardously rocky road. Our van bounced along that road like an unbroken horse, bottoming out on rocks. Just when our nerves couldn’t handle another second—there was the ocean.
Heaven awaits those who put their trust in Jesus. He’s the only Way there. But there’s a problem. The road to heaven is narrow and rough. Christians don’t have it easy just because we trust the King of kings. In fact, Jesus tells his followers to expect the road to be plenty rough.
“Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven” (Matthew 5:11,12).
Ask Christians around the world whose lives and vocations bottom out because they confess Christ. Ask university students who are demeaned for their faith and labeled as haters and bigots. Ask those who are ridiculed by family members for needing a “crutch” like religion.
But then ask Jesus. He looks at your emotional scratches and dents and calls you blessed. When life gets rough, he says, “Rejoice.”
At the end of the road is a great reward.