The Lord God has given me
the tongue of those who are taught,
that I may know how to sustain with a word
him who is weary.
Morning by morning he awakens;
he awakens my ear
to hear as those who are taught.
The Lord God has opened my ear,
and I was not rebellious;
I turned not backward.
I gave my back to those who strike,
and my cheeks to those who pull out the beard;
I hid not my face
from disgrace and spitting.
But the Lord God helps me;
therefore I have not been disgraced;
therefore I have set my face like a flint,
and I know that I shall not be put to shame.
Jesus walked a very narrow path
Jesus walked the narrow path ahead of us, so he knows the difficulties and sufferings we face. His path became narrower as he approached his ultimate purpose.
During the Passover meal, his final meal with his disciples, Jesus shared many deep truths with them, as we can read in John 13 – 16.
His disciples would have sensed Jesus struggle, his sadness and dread, and the finality of his words. I imagine they would have been confused and fearful. Jesus spoke of things they couldn’t yet understand, yet knew were vital. His prayer, in John 17, revealed to them that what lay ahead was irrevocable.
Walking with Jesus to the Garden of Gethsemane, did his disciples know that this would be the last time they walked with him before his death? Did they know their lives were about to be shattered, and everything was about to change?
Jesus knew, and he kept walking to where he would be betrayed and arrested. He walked towards his death.
We are called to die with Jesus, to die to ourselves.
As we follow Jesus, the path becomes narrower and increasingly difficult, but also results in greater joy, peace and freedom, as we become more like him. The further we go on the narrow path, and the deeper we go with him, the more subtle the temptations become, and the attacks are increasingly upsetting and unsettling.
Satan doesn’t want us walking with Jesus, and his desire is to tempt, torment, and discourage us. He knows that if we take even a tiny step off the path will result in distressing and even painful consequences, so he will do all he can to cause us to digress. He will also cause us suffering by attacking us in various ways, through people and circumstances.
We lose our equilibrium, and it can be a struggle to regain it.
Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.
It is a difficult and wonderful road, and I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else, but in Jesus. I wrote this poem, following a recent digression which resulted in a physically and emotionally painful time.
Narrow is the gate
and difficult the path
that leads to life,
I desire to walk it,
Hidden dangers loom
as thorns and briars,
swamps and bogs
surround me on every side.
Darkness presses in around me,
hiding vicious foes
that seek to lure me
into their dens.
Concealed tracks branch away,
desiring to misguide me,
desperate to distract,
resolved to bring confusion and pain.
Disguised, shrouded with light,
enticing sirens beckon me,
seeking to enchant,
to captivate and destroy.
My steps falter…..
I stumble and fall…..
I lose my way…..
With great sorrow and grief
I cry out to you…..
Your loving hands lift me up
and lead me back to the only way,
your way that leads to life!
Keep me on your narrow path
as it grows more precarious
the deeper I go