“Nothing worth having comes easy.”

Theodore Roosevelt

I don’t want to be the man I am today any longer than I have to be. It’s not that I don’t like myself, but I know I could be better, and, as a Christian, I’m not settling for anything less than being perfected in Christ. I only like myself as much as I know that I will be a better person in Christ if I persevere. 

As Christians, our life goal is to honor the Lord with everything we have. Indeed, all creation was created to give God glory. However, once sin entered the world, it became broken. This is why creation groans and waits for the Second coming of the Lord, as we read in Romans.

We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time.

Romans 8:22 (NIV)

While reading Exodus today, this verse stood out.

When Pharaoh let the people go, God did not lead them on the road through the Philistine country, though that was shorter. For God said, “If they face war, they might change their minds and return to Egypt” (emphasis added).

Exodus 13:17 (NIV)

There are two things I noticed from this verse. First, the Israelites could have gotten to their destination by a faster route. Second, God took the Israelites along a longer path because they might turn back to Egypt if they faced the hardship and the terror of war. 

When we speak of Egypt today, we’re typically referring to the actual country, or we’re referring to Egypt as a metaphor for the world. Exodus 13:17 refers to Egypt as the physical place where the Israelites were delivered. However, we can apply what we see in Exodus 13:17 to the “Egypt” in our lives. That’s to say, the worldly sinful lives we led before we were saved. 

If you asked any Israelites whether they wanted to go the fast, easy way or the long hard way, they’d have chosen the easy way. Who wouldn’t? This is why I use Google Maps. I set my destination and expect to be guided as quickly as possible, following the route with the least amount of trouble. Imagine using navigational software to direct us in every aspect of our lives. 

We have something better. We have the Holy Spirit to lead and guide us into all truth. We follow the Lord, who takes us along the best route to accomplish his purpose. However, the Lord’s guidelines for this journey are different from ours. Evidenced by verses like these from James.

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

James 1:2-3 (NIV)

Fifteen years ago, I had a plan for my life and for my education. I was working on my Bachelor’s degree and planned to get my Masters and then my Ph.D. However, a year before graduating from University, I felt that the Lord was moving me in a different direction, so I turned away from getting my Masters and Ph.D. If you ask me, that direction I felt the Lord calling me to didn’t work out. However, I’m not dead yet, so I can’t really say, but I can tell you it hasn’t worked out yet in my timing. Fifteen years later, I’m about halfway through the Masters’s degree I wanted. 

After applying and being accepted into my Master’s program, I encountered funding problems. I made some mistakes while seeking funding and so the funding was delayed. In fact, I received funding for my first semester after the semester ended, and I had my grades. While studying for my classes, I struggled with the notion that I was wasting my time. 

As my savings went away and funding for school didn’t seem to be on the way, I considered quitting. However, I had gone through too much to stop, and I believed the Lord hadn’t led me down this long and winding road to abandon me. I had hope, and the hope I had came from the length of my journey. Consider what Paul says here in Romans about hope.

Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.

Romans 5:4-5 (NIV)

Through my trials, I persevered; through that perseverance, I developed a better character in Christ and found hope. It’s not that I didn’t have hope fifteen years ago. Yet, I would have quit if I had run into these issues so many years ago. I’d have said I was wrong. I was in error when I thought God wanted me to return to school. In a way, I’d have returned to Egypt when I ran into the hardship of war. When we’ve struggled to get somewhere, quitting isn’t easy because we’ve gone too far to quit. However, if there’s been no journey and what we were hoping for is given to us right away, we might say, “Easy come, easy go,” and let it go. 

Although it wouldn’t have been the metaphorical Egypt before I was saved, it would have been something less. Less than what God had for me. It’s almost always more comfortable to stay where we are than to move forward into something frightening and new. While we’re excited to move into new terrain, we don’t often look forward to new hardships along the way. 

Therefore, when we go through trials and tribulations, we’re more likely to appreciate how far we have come when those trials are over. Furthermore, we’re far more likely to not give up along the way because we’ve already traveled too far to give up. This is why nothing worth having comes easy. 

Do you know God? God knows you, and he loves you. He sees you as significant because you are. No one is insignificant to Him. He’s with you today, and he wants you to know him. Jesus died for your sins and mine so we could be free of guilt, freed from death, and live eternally with him. Eternal salvation is just a prayer away.

Pray this prayer with me to accept the gift of salvation:

Lord Jesus, forgive me for all my sins. I repent from my ways. Wash me in your blood and cleanse me from all unrighteousness. I believe that you died on the cross, were buried, and on the third day, God the Father raised you from the dead. Right now, Lord Jesus, I open the door to my heart and receive you into my heart as my Lord and personal Savior. Amen.

If you prayed that prayer, then congratulations! You are on the first step of a brand new life. Allow me to be the first to welcome you to my family, the family of God. There are abundant resources available online for new Christians. You can visit here for more information on what to do next. You can also leave me a comment, and I’ll do my best to help you on the next step of this incredible journey.