“Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the road is easy that leads to destruction, and there are many who take it. For the gate is narrow and the road is hard that leads to life, and there are few who find it.” Matthew 7:13-14 (NRSV)
In a strange way, these verses bring me peace. They remind me that the path to the Eternal is not easy. They effectively legitimize my personal struggle.
Now, I’m not trying to throw myself a pity party here… I get that I’m not unique in finding life to be struggle. I know plenty of people that are struggling right alongside of me. Everyone falls into hard times of some sort at some point in their lives…
But when a person of faith experiences personal struggles, those struggles can come with added baggage: Maybe God is punishing me. Is there some unconfessed sin in my life? I must not be praying faithfully enough.
And yet, here we have Jesus Christ, the Cornerstone of the Christian faith, telling us that this road is going to be hard.
So, why is it that we expect this life of faith to be otherwise?
That is the question I’ve been entering into as of late. And it’s one that has thwarted most of my recent attempts at blogging. Because, I don’t exactly know why I expect a life of faith to be anything other than difficult. But, I totally expect it to be easier than it is. I mean, isn’t that why I decided to follow Jesus? To get Love and forgiveness and peace and joy and stuff?
Are Love and suffering mutually exclusive?
I don’t believe they are. Motherhood has taught me that they often go hand in hand. That Eternal Love has a bittersweet quality in this life seems to be one of the truths nailed into the flesh of our Savior. And yet, I still respond to needing to pick up my own cross with sorrow and surprise.
As if this road should be easy.
He tells me it will be hard.
I waste precious time balking at the cross that blocks my path, when it really doesn’t matter how easy I wish my life to be. What matters is that I dutifully pick up the same cross I’m eyeing with suspicion and get on with living fully into the life I am called to (Luke 9:23).
Even when it’s hard. Maybe, especially when it’s hard. After all, if the road that leads to life is supposed to be this way, I must be on the right track.