This life is not easy. I have questioned why God allows us to struggle, why He allows pain, heartache, difficulty and pain into our lives. I have asked Him so many questions of ‘why?’ but more than just explanations and answers He proves to me time and time again that He, Himself is the answer. In the midst of despair and trial He shows us that He is truly all that we need and all that our hearts really long for.
Tonight, as I drove home after spending some time in a coffee shop, I began to pray and ask God for the harder way- a difficult life. At first, I wasn't sure if I knew exactly what I was praying.
“Are you sure you want this?” I asked myself.
I know what this means and what it will cost but I have no other option.
This is the way I must go.
This is what He has called me to.
The difficult life will be just that. Difficult. It will be hard. It means following God not matter the cost. It means going against culture and popular opinion. It means complete, daily surrender. It means loneliness. It means being willing to and actually going into the most hellish of places to rescue souls out of the Enemy’s grip. It means losing comfort and ease. It means a potential life of singleness or becoming a young widow (as Elisabeth Elliot did.) It means taking in the worst of the worst, the most broken and misbehaved orphaned children. It could mean living in a dirt hut in the middle of nowhere. It means enduring harsh criticism and persecution. This calling entails hitting the Enemy head on with the force and unction of the Most High and engaging in spiritual warfare and attack.
It could mean losing my very life.
But more than what I “go without” or “lose” in this life it is more about what I get- JESUS. The harder way means living in complete dependence and trust in the Lord. We get to see Jesus move and change lives. We see God provide in supernatural ways. We are able to watch the most broken lives be restored and redeemed. It means seeing the Enemy trampled underfoot as Jesus is crowned KING OF KINGS in what was once Satan’s stronghold. It is having the Living God- His very presence dwelling within us. This life is a God-sized adventure filled with highest joy and greatest reward. The life that God calls us to is not based to our feelings and ups and downs but despite of them, we fix our eyes of Jesus and His very nature and promises. Despite of our circumstances we find joy and peace in Him alone.
Asking for the harder way is completely against my nature and most people’s tendencies. I like everything easy-which probably explains why I despise working out and running. I hate the aching muscles, the sweating and feeling out of breath. But if there is no exercise there are no results. Only more pounds gained and a bigger pooch in my midsection right? But though it is hard it is worth it. Because in the end, we get healthier, stronger, and have more endurance.
Isn't this the same with the Christian life? We don’t like pain, trials and struggles but those are the very things in life that bring the greatest rewards and make us stronger.
There are so many times where the easiest thing to do is sit on the couch, watch TV and put off exercising. So many times spiritually I want to just sit on the couch and ignore what God is calling me to. Deny God’s call for the harder way. I just want to be happy. I just want an easy life. I don’t want to feel the “sore muscles” spiritually. I just want to stay in my safe little Christian bubble.
He has called us to more.
“If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel’s will save it. For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul?”
This is the harder way- a difficult path but it is the path of my Jesus and in His footsteps….. I will follow.
“All I once held dear, built my life upon All this world reveres and wars to own All I once thought gain I have counted loss Spent and worthless now compared to this Knowing You, Jesus, knowing You There is no greater thing You're my all, You're the best You're my joy, my righteousness And I love You Lord Now my heart's desire is to know You more To be found in You and know as Yours To possess by faith what I could not earn All surpassing gift of righteousness Oh to know the power of Your risen life And to know You in Your sufferings To become like You in Your death, my Lord So with You to live and never die” “Knowing You (All I Once Held Dear)” words by Graham Kendrick