john 6.

Life is hard. I don’t think this is an arguable opinion-no matter what religion or “spiritual preference” you attain :Muslim, Atheist, Agnostic (whatever that really means), Buddhist, Christian, Hindu, New Age, you will never convince yourself that life is made of skipping in green fields holding daisies. life is hard. 

There are days I would prefer to give up. I don’t want to walk the Christian life any longer. I would rather do something to satisfy the real pain that I’m facing, even if it is for just a moment of relief; the reality of sin and festering wounds is enough to drive me away.

Hard message of Christ number one: you are a sinner.

two: you have been sinned against.

three: you are bleeding on the ground without a single hand reaching out to help you up…and you don’t even realize it.

four: healing can only occur if you press onward through the darkness. 

five: trials are inescapable. 

six: some trials will come solely because we have chosen to follow Christ….

What does it mean to live a life set apart by God? Since I have become a Christian, the trials have increased; like contractions speeding up as a woman is about to deliver a baby, the fiery pains came more steadily, more frequently, and more intensely after I came to Christ. 

And they continue. 

As they come, there is a piece of me who sees life before Christ and, although I can’t image ever turning back, there is a temptation to tamper with my old demons-my old numbing practices, my old, reckless, self-help regiment. Whether it was boys, mutilation, lying, stealing, drinking, drugs, whatever, as life with Christ increases in its labor pains, I take a backward glance, searching for a quick way out. As God speaks to me, calling me to sacrifice and continuous death to self, there is not a day that passes that I think, ‘oh yes, this calling will be an easy one.’ I do not sit and ponder upon my great holiness, my vast ability to serve and delight in the Lord with every part of my being. There are times where I would much rather gossip, cheat, gratify different lusts and desires, take the easy way out. 

fiery trials have come. fiery trials are here. i see them before me, speedily approaching,

and many have experienced fiery trials and have turned their backs on Christ, exclaiming ’This is Too Hard.’

and i say to myself 'this is too hard.’  

and i hear my Father say 'do you take offense to this? …do you want to go away as well?’
i hear my Father’s voice call me and say, “this is the way, walk in it…" 
sometimes straight into what seems like a mass destruction or perhaps a bog so foggy i can only rely on seeing the step directly in front of me…

whether it is

Sudan

India

Huntington Beach. 

whether i know where i’ll sleep tonight 

or wonder how my bills will be paid, 

all i can do 

is answer like peter, with a deep sigh, and say "Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life, and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God.”

my heart knows that it was made for Him. there is no one else and nothing else that can satisfy, sustain, or rescue it. My God is my Only Hope. 

He is my last hope.

it seems i have no choice but to trust you, Lord.

there is nothing for me apart from a life with Jesus…no matter how hard it may get, where else can i go? 'Where can i go from your sprit?’  (psalm 139). he is with me always, he alone can rescue and lead, so why run? 

at the end of it all, i must land in His embrace, 

because there is nothing else to cling to.