I remember the walk well. We’d barely been in the neighborhood a month and I’d just delivered our third baby…sweet Rebekah. The kids were restless and the day was hot….it was July in Nashville. I remembered a playground, down the road a ways, and set off-infant in a carrier, two year old and three year old in the double stroller. We started early but as we neared the swings, I realized the road was a steep slope down-which unfortunately meant the way home would be a steep climb up.
I was sure I could find an alternate route and set to enjoy the morning best I could. The kids climbed and bounced and I pushed them in the swing. But the sun had risen past the treeline and we were all soon ready to find shade and rest at home.
I set off down a parallel street, certain it’d lead me toward our neighborhood. But with only a few turns, my certainty dwindled and I could only be confident that the way home would not be easy.
The newborn was tired of the carrier by now and we were all sweating. There were four of us, but I felt so alone. I headed to the main road to get my bearings and then turned back, spotting a hill ahead twice as steep as the one I’d worked hard to avoid.
Feeling the pains from delivery and the heat of the sun and catching my breath from the hill, I was just barely able to hang on. But I did, and at long last, I pushed the children into the shade of the house and finally sat down….we’d made it, the long way.
It’s been more than a year since that walk and I haven’t taken the route again, not alone anyways. We’ve been back to the playground, of course, but I now only head that direction when Jason is with me.
Often, I want this walk with Christ to just be a stroll through the park, just a casual saunter on a flat road. Reading in Matthew wakes me up to the hills ahead.
“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.” Matthew 7:13-14
When Jesus calls us to follow Him, He asks us to take up a cross and walk the road He walked–the unpaved and challenging hill of self denial. And there’s really no other path to take, no other way, if you want to go home. There’s just one gate, and it’s a narrow one.
But the hill is not for us to walk alone and though FEW find it, Jesus was the one who formed it. He has already walked it and is everyday ready to push the load up for us–and lead us along the hard, uphill route.
Get out this week and take a long hard walk. And when you do, remember the Gospel—that Christ climbed the hill all the way to Calvary. Though the way is hard and few find it, the walk is worth it. Because Christ is the One who will lead you through the gate, over the hill, and finally home to rest.
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