God never promised us a rose garden. Many are told when they come to faith in Christ they will experience love, joy, and peace -- which is so very true. But we fail to mention these byproducts of the Christian faith are often couched between hardship, suffering, and struggle. God seems to be more concerned with our character than our comfort. In the normal Christian experience, struggle is the name of the game.
There always seems to be treacherous terrain. Our psalmist, David, finds himself fainthearted and overwhelmed by the isolation and trials of his spiritual voyage. Like the psalmist, our spiritual odyssey can be likened to our journey up a mountain with a rocky and uncertain terrain. With the length of the trek, and the unsure footing, we become fatigued. We reach up for one more rock above us, but our hands start to slip off the rock and we realize our strength is not sufficient to pull us up. One last time we call out, “Help Lord,” as we extend our hand. It seems as if an arm from heaven comes down from behind the rock and latches on to our forearm and hand. He then pulls us to the cleft of the rock. And one more time we realize that when our strength has failed, God’s grace has prevailed.
It’s an ongoing journey where we breathe a sigh of relief and, for a time, bask in His presence. About the time our wounds from the journey are healed and we feel pretty secure in our rocky refuge, we turn and look up the mountain. We understand that we must either continue up the mountain or descend back to the lowlands. There is no such thing as the status quo in the Kingdom of God. We’re either moving toward God or away from Him. So we continue our ascent up the mountain, experiencing one impregnable rock after another -- never being able to scale any cliff in our own strength, but only with God’s help.
As you go from one rocky crest to another, discover that clearer view of the glory of God. This will motivate you onward. When you grow weary from time to time, ask the Lord, “How many rocks must I climb?” You answer your own question as you realize it will be as many as it takes to get to the top. Whatever is required to get to the Rock (the Lord Jesus) who is higher than I.
(Photo courtesy of office.microsoft.com.)