Hiking the Steep and Rugged Pathway
One of my favorite hymns contains this prayer:
Father, hear the prayer we offer.
Not for ease that prayer shall be,
But for strength that we may ever
Live our lives courageously.
Not for ever in green pastures
Do we ask our way to be;
But the steep and rugged pathway
May we tread rejoicingly.
This is a great prayer for disciples of Jesus—including lawyers and law students—these days. But can we honestly pray that first stanza? I know that I often care more about my comfort than I care about having courage!
Sometimes we would prefer to walk only in green pastures and completely skip the difficult trails. And when we get to the “steep and rugged” trail of the spiritual life, we pray for the safety of green pastures, rather than the courage to climb and the strength to rejoice on the way!
There is no doubt that we should take comfort as our Shepherd leads us to green pastures beside still waters (see Psalm 23). And we should gladly rest in Him when He leads us there. But our Savior also calls us—and leads us—up the steep and rugged path, to higher, more beautiful, more dangerous places—places where it takes courage to hike the trail.
On the steep trails, we will be challenged to grow. Yet we might suffer for doing what’s right.
On the rocky paths, we will see God working in amazing ways. But we may be persecuted for following Him.
On the narrow mountain passes, our confidence in God will soar as we seek and see His face. But we may be hated for telling the truth or taking a moral stand. We may be mocked for standing for justice or for the poor or for the oppressed.
What do you desire? A life of comfort in the pasture? Or the joyful life on the steep and dangerous trails of the adventure with God? If you want the spiritual adventure, ask God for the courage to be the person He is willing to make you.
Dear God, I want to go with you wherever you call me. I desire to go places where only your grace and power and can get me through. Please take me there and give me the courage to be who you have made me to be! Amen.