Take the Easy Road?

by admin

I struggled with whether or not to write this because the truth is I have only been thinking about the subject lately because I have friends who are faced with major decisions right now.  And the advice almost everyone is giving them is the subject of this blog.  There are a lot of things about my faith, my relationship with God, and the direction my life has taken that I don’t understand, but somehow the truth of Matthew 7:13 has never been in doubt in my mind.  I am just struggling with how to express it to them, without sounding self-serving.

We all want the easy road.  We all want life to be simple and smooth.  We all crave simplicity and peace.  We all want comfort.  These are universal.  These are what got this world into the morass of sin and evil.  They just are.

But it is especially hard to read Matthew 7:13 when you have been through months, even years of heavy loads, squeaking by, and fighting tooth and nail just to survive.  You just want to take the easy road, just for a bit, just for a change.  Just for a break.

And in the midst of calamity, light sometimes appears.  It’s like if in the middle of Job’s suffering, an angel descended and said to him, “I can give you back your health, your children, your wealth, and even the love of your wife.”  Job would be crazy not to take what’s offered, wouldn’t he?  That’s what the world thinks.  That’s what common sense thinks.  You take what’s offered.  Why resist?  It will only lead to more pain.

Surely this new thing, this easy thing must be a gift from God, right?  Isn’t that how God operates?

If it always is, why did Jesus say those words, words that stuck in Matthew’s head for years until he simply had to write them down when he wrote a chronicle of his years with Jesus?

“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.”

Sounds forbodeing.  And I am not trying to scare anyone.  I don’t think that every easy thing is evil.  But I think if the only guage we use for deciding what to do is picking the wide and easy path, we are very likely to go astray.

In my life, I can think of many times I was faced with a hard or easy path.  And honestly, I can’t recall any incident where the easy path brought my good.  On the other hand, there were many times I took the hard path and it got worse… but in the rearview mirror, I see what God was doing there.

There’s a book that I have been meaning to read, mainly because I think its message is intensely countercultural.  It is called, “Do Hard Things” and was written by teenage twins.  They have chosen deliberately to do hard things.  And they think that we all would be better off, in all ways, if instead of looking for the path of least resistance, the easy road, we consciously took the hard one.  I can’t disagree.  The easy road is filled with regret.

Paul Brandt wrote a song called “Risk” that became our family’s anthem as we abandoned jobs, friends and church to follow God’s calling to Medicine Hat.  The chorus:

I’d rather burn with desire, deep in my soul,

And like a fire that’s out of control,

Live my whole life with a sense of abandon

And squeeze every drop out no matter what happens

And not wonder what I’d have missed…

I’d rather Risk.

Robert Frost agreed with Jesus, I think:

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

It is on the road less travelled, it is in the risky places, it is when we are in a place where God HAS to come through – that’s where God wants each and every one of us.

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