“The narrow path with Jesus for me has been exhilarating, but also lonely and difficult,” wrote my new friend, Grace Hsiao Hanford, last New Year’s Day on her blog, incarnatethinking.org.
As I read through Grace’s posts, that statement leaped out at me. What she described has been my experience too. I love to tell about the exhilaration because, typically, people don’t expect to find any such thing on the narrow road. Thank you, Grace, for reminding me to acknowledge the loneliness and difficulty, as well. Otherwise, I’m falsely advertising a nonstop high, and people seeking as much will quickly turn back.
It’s Jesus, and his Father and his Spirit, who make the narrow path glorious. If I seek only exhilaration, I’ll miss him. If I try to run from loneliness and difficulty, I’ll miss him. Yet, just as walking with Jesus isn’t all exhilaration, it also isn’t resigning myself to a hard-knocks life.
As in the days of the Exodus, the Lord does not lead his people into the wilderness to settle there. He goes with us to lead us through. Traveling with him, I pass through difficulties. I learn from them. Facing obstacles that prove increasingly hard to conquer, I experience again and again what Scripture describes: I become more than a conqueror through Christ who loves me.
Honestly, though, in the big middle of the desert places, I can feel weary and lonely and stuck. Even when I review God’s promises and rehearse his character, my mind may continue to list all the reasons to opt for the wide path. My emotions, eager to return to Egypt, may continue pitching a fit.
Those days, my Lord by his Spirit comforts and strengthens me. Sometimes, he rebukes. Then, like a magnet in my inmost being, he draws me forward, onward. As I choose my Lord over my soul’s loud cries to turn back, I take another next step I didn’t think I could. Marveling at an intimacy that is stronger than emotion and surer than knowledge, I go with God.
Rick Pino offers encouragement to do this very thing in his song, The Narrow Road.
Friend of Jesus, be blessed to experience the glory of walking the narrow way with him.
© 2013 Deborah P. Brunt. All rights reserved.