Rush on Kapuzinerberg. Seeds to Life, Part 3


We had been blessed with sunshine as we visited Saltzburg, but while we were in Hohensalzburg, the mighty fortress that towers above the city, something happened to our sun. Instead of the bright orange orb in the sky, we were greeted by menacing, cumulous clouds.

We only had two more goals while in the city, and we set off at a near-run to accomplish them before the rain set in. The first was to see Mozart's birthplace, and this was done in a matter of minutes. It would have taken even less time if we hadn't gotten lost twice!

The last of our goals would take a bit more time. We wanted to visit the Kapuzinerberg, a hill on the right bank of the Salzach river. We had read that we would find the Capuchin monastery at the top of the hill, but even more importantly, we would find an excellent view of Salzburg. We had also read that we would have to climb a number of steps to reach our goal, but by this time we had been on vacation long enough to be in excellent shape, and the thought didn't deter us at all.

There were three potential problems to our plan, however: We had no idea where the steps began, a rain storm was eminent, and finally, our plans for the evening included visiting the school my wife had attended 30 years earlier, located about an hour outside of Saltzburg, and I wanted to be sure we had enough time to find it before dark.

I was determined, and I decided to perform my famous "rush walk". Basically what this means is that I walk so fast that I reach my goal in one, two, three. It didn't help that we missed the entrance to the hill the first time around, and when we finally found it, I started into my "rush climb". I was bound and determined to conquer "mount" Kapuziner in half-an-hour.

What I didn't realize was that my "number of steps" turned out to be 736 in total! (My kids counted them on the way back down!) And these were spread out over 3 kilometres of trail that lead straight up! You can imagine how quickly my early energy dissipated. It didn't help that the weather was hot at muggy, thanks to our eminent rainstorm, and after a quarter of an hour I was not only panting ferociously, but my head decided it was time for a dance. I had no choice but sit down at the next available bench and gasp for air.

My family was concerned. They know that my stamina is limited. They kept asking me if I was okay, and not wanting to disappoint them, I stubbornly got up and resumed my near-run up the trail. I was determined to get to the top in the least amount of time possible.

We weren't even half-way up the trail when the rain began. And as is the case with thunderstorms, our liquid sunshine was accompanied by thunderous thunder and lightening. (Can you tell I was so tired that I couldn't even think straight anymore?) I felt like I was in a haunted movie. Everything around me was eerie, and of course my rollercoaster-kind of head and the wheezing sound that emanated from my throat only contributed to the scene.

Despite the rain and my determination, I had to stop and catch my breath every time there was a bench. When we finally reached our destination, the only thing I could think about was to sit down on a bench in the rain and hold my head between my hands so that it wouldn't spin off my shoulders, and so that my breath, which obviously was still back down the hill in Salzburg, could catch up to me.

During my recovery period, the following words came into my mind: "Others, like seed sown on rocky places, hear the word and at once receive it with joy. But since they have no root, they last only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, they quickly fall away." (Mark 4:16-17 NIV) Suddenly I realized that somewhere on that trail, I had lost my primary objective!

I had heard the word about the beautiful sight from the Kapuzinerberg, and I had received it with such joy that I had rushed up the mountain. But during the trek I was confronted with some basic limitations, ones that caused me no end of trouble. This resulted in bringing out my stubborn streak, which ended up bringing on a form of self-persecution. In the end my primary objective took a definite second place to collapsing on a bench while I frantically wondered if I would survive my ordeal!

Yes, God's Word is reviving, but if we tend to rush through it and don't let it really take root in our heart, we will eventually fall away. Too often in our infant stages, someone tells us that God will protect us from any harm. We assume this means that we won't have trials. But we will, and when they arise, our wrongly assumed expectations leave us so disappointed that we often miss out on the biggest blessing God intended for us through the situation.

You see, God never promised us a "rose garden" kind of life. He never promised that we would be trial free and worry free. Instead He promised us much, much more. He promised to be with us during our trials. He promised that if we would rely 100% on Him through them, we would conquer these tribulations through His power. And He promised that we would grow stronger in our faith as a result. Trials are not there to render us intimidated and defenceless. They are there as opportunities to prepare us for our final destination and to help us discover that we have an immeasurable ally at our side!

"And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age." (Matt 28:20 NIV)

"Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me." (Ps 23:4 NIV)

"In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith - of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire - may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed." (1 Peter 1:6-7 NIV)

P. S. Boy what a view, once I realized what I was missing!

Rob Chaffart

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