He Never Promised You Easy
“He never promised that the cross would not get heavy and the hill would not be hard to climb.
He never offered a victory without fighting, but He said help would always come in time.”
These are the lyrics to a hymn my mom has sang for years and years at our church, called “Through the Fire”. I’ve always loved the song (and yes, biasedly love it a little more b/c the singer…. luh you mama K!!). Seriously though, the song is such a comforting reminder to God’s promise, just like it says in Hebrews 13:5, “I will never leave you or forsake you”, no matter what you’re going through. Which is such a good truth to remind ourselves of and I’ve always focused on that message of this hymn…. Until recently. This season of life I’ve really had to remind myself of the other truth this hymn is reminding us of, what God doesn’t promise.
God never promised that our cross, our load, our burden would not be heavy.
He really didn’t. Many have this thought, that “because I’m a Christian, bad things will not happen to me”. It’s just simply not true. Nowhere in the bible did God promise our road wouldn’t have bumps, valleys, unexpected turns, or detours. In other words, He never promised your life wouldn’t have sicknesses, heart-break, absentee fathers, death, car accidents, cancer, bad grades, debt, failure. In fact, Jesus quite simply states the opposite many times throughout scripture.
“Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. "He who loves his life loses it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it to life eternal.” - John 12:24-25 NIV
“Then Jesus said to His disciples, "If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me. "For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.” - Matthew 16:24-25 NIV
“Anyone who intends to come with me must let me lead. You’re not in the driver’s seat; I am. Don’t run from suffering; embrace it. Follow me and I’ll show you how. Self-help is no help at all. Self-sacrifice is the way, my way, to saving yourself, your true self. What good would it do to get everything you want and lose you, the real you? What could you ever trade your soul for?” - Mark 8:34-37 MSG
I’ve read these verses and I’ve worshiped to that hymn countless times, but it’s not until you’re faced with that burden, that load, that sin that will just NOT go away, will you understand the message Jesus is trying to get across:
Life has suffering, unfair moments, and pain, BUT it’s not without purpose and even more encouraging than that….. it’s most definitely not without a greater glory to come!!!
For me, that has looked like a lot of self-image issues, insecurities, mistreatment of my body for the sake of a physical appearance. I’ve been really open with my story in healing from an eating disorder, which I’ve been on the road to healing for. However, healing looks a lot different than I thought it would.
I had this picture in my head of what my healing journey out of this self-idolatry I was in would look like. I pictured freedom, healing and wholeness—which I FIRMLY believe will come one day, but I assumed that the road to that day would be short and easy. We are promised hope (May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. - Romans 15:13) BUT we were never promised when the fulfillment of that hope will come.
God always brings healing and restoration, but that healing could happen tomorrow, ten years from now, or once we reach heaven…. And we have to be okay with whichever one that is because He will come through when and how He chooses. BUT He always comes through.
Healing from distorted body image, undernourished, restrictive eating and over-exercise for me has been a much nastier process than I ever thought and taking longer than I ever imagined.
And to be honest, I’ve been mad at God about it.
So mad that I’ve been resistant to pray or read His Word because my healing wasn’t happening the way I wanted it to.
Just so many questions out of frustration like:
Why does healing involve gaining weight?
Why can’t I just stop thinking having guilt around eating already?
Shouldn’t I at least be able to like what I see in the mirror by now?
But when I was complaining about all of this at dinner with one of my closest, most amazing friends, she shot it too me REALLLLL straight.
“Kaitlyn, healing isn’t supposed to be easy. Uprooting sin, just like uprooting weeds requires digging, pulling, and tearing… none of which are fun or easy things to do. In order to get to the bottom of your sin, to really uproot it requires deep digging into your soul, examining some hard habits, tearing away from old ways of thinking, but once you get to the root and pull it up, it’s gone for good! That is the hope to get through the pain on the way!!”
First, off- aren’t friends amazing?! Like seriously, get you some good, Jesus loving friends that speak TRUTH like this in your life!!!! Also, I love analogies, so the weed/uprooting analogy just spoke right to me.
Second, this caught me so off guard and hit me straight in the gut in the absolute best way!! She was so right!!! The long, hard way is not always the worse way—actually, usually the better way. The process is where we learn, where we heal.
The crosses we are chosen to carry in this life are usually the things that shape us into the people God has molded and crafted us to be our whole lives. Let that be are motivation to keep going, to keep healing, to keep hoping.
So whatever your cross is, whatever the burden is your carrying- whether that be a sin, an addiction, a insecurity, a lost loved one, an abusive parent, WHATEVER—give it to the Lord and carry it with hope because He sees you and He is working everything for our good and His glory…… IN HIS TIME.
And just sing the rest of that sweet hymn’s lyrics:
“He never promised that the cross would not get heavy, and the hill would not be hard to climb. He never offered victories without fighting, but He said help would always come in time. Just remember when you're standing in the valley of decision and the adversary says give in, Just hold on.
Our Lord will show up, and He will take you through the fire again.
So many times I question the certain circumstances, things I could not understand.Many times in trials my weakness blurs my vision, that's when my frustration seems gets so out of hand. It's then I am reminded, I've never been forsaken. I've never had to stand one test alone.That's when I look at all the victories, the Spirit rising up in me.And It's through the fire my weakness is made strong.
Our Lord will show up and He will take you through the fire again.I know within myself that I would surely perish. If I trust the hand of God, He'll shield the flame again, again!”