25 April 2012

the narrow road.

so last night was hard.  i was burdened.  burdened by the stories of my friends, but so encouraged by the faith of them.

in thailand knowing Jesus is the exception.  its rare.  its even more rare to know a Christian who comes from a family of believers.  last night in our weekly bible study we were all in prayer for our friend.  a friend who became a Christian after her sweet sister shared the gospel with her.  after a long time, in fear of what her parents would say, she decided to tell them she became a believer and they didn't take it well. they told her she was no longer their daughter and her and her sister were stupid for believing.    she could have very easily abandoned christ and gone back to buddhism.  then her parents would accept her.  but this 18 year old girl chose Christ.  she chose life and the narrow road.

after hearing this story my heart was broken.  broken that my friends have to endure this.  broken that they have to live with the feeling of disappointing their parents.  broken that this is common and that most of my friends here have the exact same story.  broken that in no way can i even fathom what this may feel like because my parents have supported and encouraged me my entire life.

but the thing i'm realizing more and more is that the road i've chosen is not an easy one.

“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 ESV)

the way to life is hard and, if anything, this experience is teaching me that everyday.  as i look at the rest of my life i realize that its not going to be easy.  so right now i have the chance to decide.  do i travel the road ahead knowing what is in front of me or do i travel the easy road that leads to destruction?  god never once promised that following him was easy, but he did tell me that it would be worth it.  worth all the pain, hardships, and afflictions.  and he is worth it.  and he promises me that he will be with me on that road.  he'll carry me when i need to be carried.  he'll encourage me when i need encouragement.  

"But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us. We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed..."
(2 Corinthians 4:7-9 ESV)  

so i have to ask myself if my life isn't hard then what's wrong?  am i really walking on the narrow road? because if i am then it shouldn't be easy.  

as much as my heart is broken, i'm encouraged.  i'm encouraged because i serve an almighty God who is far better than anything in this life.  a God who promises to bless me a hundred times over for following him and the promise of eternal life.  and i get to experience a love that is worth more than treasure.

"Peter began to say to him, “See, we have left everything and followed you.” Jesus said, “Truly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or lands, for my sake and for the gospel, who will not receive a hundredfold now in this time, houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions, and in the age to come eternal life. But many who are first will be last, and the last first.”
(Mark 10:28-31 ESV)

so god made a promise.  and he's a pretty good promise keeper.  please join me in praying for the thai believers.  pray for those who have to abandon everything they know and their identity to follow Jesus.  and be encouraged by them and be thankful for the Lord's promises in your life.  

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