Quiet Time Musings: The Difficulty of the Christian Life

Last night a friend and I stayed up until the wee hours of the morning discussing the Christian life. We lamented the fact that being obedient to God’s calling and will for believers is challenging. Here are some of the questions we asked:

Why is it so hard to be obedient?

Why does God allow certain things to happen in our lives even though we’re wholeheartedly trying to follow Him?

Why do we not do the things we know are right and instead, do what we know is wrong?

We both went to bed pondering. In fact, I assumed I’d be faced with a sleepless night if I continued to think about it – fortunately I was wrong and slept like a baby.

In my quiet time this morning God gifted me with an answer through the day’s devotional reading in My Utmost For His Highest. The scripture was this: Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow is the road that leads to life, and only a few find it. Matthew 7:13-14


The author, Oswald Chambers says, “If we are going to live as disciples of Jesus, we have to remember that all noble things are difficult. The Christian life is gloriously difficult, but the difficulty of it does not make us faint and cave in, it rouses us up to overcome.”

I often forget Jesus’ words . . . Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If anyone would come after me (follow me), he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.” Matthew 16:24 emphasis mine

Jesus’ cross was heavy. In fact, it was so heavy that when he stumbled beneath the weight of it, the Roman guards called another man to help him carry it to the road leading to the place of his crucifixion.


Our crosses are heavy too. In order to carry it we have to have Jesus’ help. And with his help, we too can overcome.

Are you struggling under a heavy load right now? As Jesus frequently reminded his disciples, Take courage! He is with you.

Your Turn: My challenge for you today is to find a friend. Speak aloud your needs, confess your sin and ask for prayer as you struggle to journey through the narrow gate.

Cry out to God & He’ll stand by you

Something amazing happened yesterday.

Before I go into it, I have to backtrack a little. In my morning quiet time as I studied a section in the book of Acts, I stumbled upon this verse: The following night the Lord stood near Paul and said, “Take courage! As you have testified about me in Jerusalem, so you must also testify in Rome. Acts 23:11

Paul was in a sticky situation. He’d just been pulled away from an angry Jewish assembly of Pharisees and Sadducees who were arguing about him. To protect him and discover the cause of the uproar, a Roman commander took him away by force to their barracks.

Now read the verse again. Do you see it? It says “the Lord stood near Paul.”

So many thoughts went through my mind and it made me wonder – how often does the Lord stand by us without our knowledge? How many times has he held my family and me up without us realizing it?


It sparked a new fire for me in the realm of praying for my kids. I said, “Show me Lord, that you’re standing near me. I need to see you and know you are with me just as you were with Paul.”

I admit that sometimes I feel weak asking God for things like this. I DO have faith of course, but it still makes me feel “needy” which is silly because of course I’m needy. Psalm 72:12 says, For he will deliver the needy who cry out, the afflicted who have no one to help. He loves when we cry out and express our needs. But still . . .

Anyway, later that night I was working in the kitchen and my 19-year-old daughter walks in with cupcakes. She puts them on the counter and just stands there. So I go back to what I’m working on and all of a sudden she says, “Can I have a hug?”

This. Never. Happens.

I can see she’s about to burst into tears so I jump up and wrap her in my arms and just hold her. Minutes pass and she says, “I need you to pray for my friends.”

So we do. Right then and there I got the opportunity to pray for my prodigal daughter and her lost friends.

God stood near.

I know He was wrapping himself around us because I could feel his presence so powerfully. I’m living proof that all we need to do is ask and cry out to him. He will hold us up.

Your Turn: What are you needy for? I challenge you to ask, stay alert and standby as he answers your prayer.