“Through many dangers, toils and snares we have already come.” The words of the great hymn reveal the true nature of the Christian walk. The life of a true disciple is not one of comfort and ease. Jesus implied as much when He said, “He that endures until the end will be saved. There would be “a cross” to bear and persecution, hardships, suffering, sacrifice, rejection and many afflictions to endure. But you may ask, “what exactly are we called to endure?”
Maybe it is enduring something as mundane as the monotonous metronome of life, the tyranny of the treadmill and the relentless march of time? Maybe it’s the “day of small things”? Maybe it’s the weight of bearing the daily reproach of the “cross”? Maybe it’s the pain of rejection by friends and foes alike? Maybe it’s the stigma of being culturally and politically incorrect? Maybe it’s believing in the foolishness of the gospel? Maybe it is a sin filled world that vexes the righteous soul? Maybe it’s the lonely life of the pilgrim who is forever a stranger in a strange land? Maybe it’s the loneliness of having to stand alone in your faith and convictions when others have turned back? Maybe it’s weathering the seductive influences of a consumer driven world? Maybe it’s the test of prosperity that eats away the souls of many. Maybe it’s maintaining your integrity when others have abandoned theirs?
Maybe it’s the lifelong burden of a physical ailment or disability? Maybe it’s the heartache that comes with the passing of friends and loved ones? Maybe It is the stress of troubled relationships. Maybe it’s the inevitability of the coming crisis and the 2:00 A.M. call? Maybe it’s the sobering knowledge that old age and death await us all. Maybe it’s the sudden loss of everything we thought most precious and dear? Maybe it’s the rampant injustice and inequity which surrounds us? Maybe it’s the cruel oppression of those who have no voice? Maybe it’s the prejudice and hate of others. Maybe it’s watching the rich and famous enjoying they caviar dreams and champagne wishes? Maybe it’s the corruption and the political intrigues of men? Maybe it’s the fact that there will always be of chaos and calamity in the world? Maybe it’s the inevitability of trials and tribulations? Maybe it’s the persecution that comes from a hostile world? Maybe it’s the test of poverty and persecution? Maybe it’s just being “world weary”?
Maybe it involves leaving an dysfunctional church and having to overcome spiritual abuse? Maybe it’s the righteous indignation we feel towards those who sow their destructive teachings among the flock? Maybe it’s dealing with Christians who don’t act like Christians. Maybe it’s enduring the worldliness of church politics, church in-fighting and church splits? Maybe it’s the steady accumulation of disappointments, delays and discouragement life gives so freely? Maybe it’s th “dark night of the soul” and the “Winter of discontent”? Maybe it’s the all the fine grains of life irritations that so often grow into a Mt. Everest of frustration? Maybe it’s realizing that life is not fair? Maybe it’s people? Maybe it’s having to run the marathon set before us. Maybe it’s fighting the “Good Fight” and “enduring hardness as a good soldier of Christ”?
Still, through all of the seasons of life He is faithful. He is faithful even when we aren’t. He is faithful even when we, trip, we falter, we limp, we groan, we whine, we fail, we consider quitting and we resist. He is with us during calm seas and stormy weather. To be sure, “through many dangers, toils & snares we have already come but grace has brought us safe thus far and grace will lead us home.