The Less-Traveled Road

Growing up in my parent’s old church, I always heard our pastor give a benediction at the end of his sermons that confused me. After he finished delivering his message he would stand at the front of the church reciting this prayer from St. Francis of Assisi:

“May God bless you with discomfort about easy answers, half-truths, and superficial relationships so that you may live deep from the heart.

May God bless you with anger at injustice, oppression and the exploitation of people so that you may work for justice, freedom and peace.

May God bless you with tears to shed for those who suffer pain, rejection, starvation, and war so that you may reach your hands out to them and turn their sorrow into joy.

And may God bless you, church, with enough foolishness to believe that in Christ, you can make a difference in this world and do those things others say cannot be done.”

-St. Francis of Assisi

This was always baffling to me. Why on earth should I pray to feel the emotions of discomfort, anger, sadness, and foolishness? Yet the more I hear about Jesus and see his love through other people, the more I learn that I often encounter Him through the messy and often less traveled road.

“But the gateway to life is very narrow and the road is difficult, and only a few ever find it.” - Matthew 7:14

Learning about the way that Jesus calls me to live challenges me to have my heart softened towards what Jesus cared about while He was on earth.
Jesus was unafraid to face hard conversations with those he discipled and taught (Matthew 22:15-22).
He had anger at the exploitation of His father’s temple (Luke 19:45-46).
He cried tears over the death of someone He loved (John 11:35).
He was never afraid to speak the truth of God in front of those who did not understand what he meant (John 2:19). 

I think that when Jesus calls us to live in the Narrow Way, it goes beyond resting in the fact that we know we will spend eternity with Him because we believe in Him. I think we should celebrate this!!!! I also think that if we let this realization impact our hearts, we will start to see the world and those around us differently.

Living in the Narrow Way often means sacrificing the way that my worldly desires want me to live and focusing on what matters in God’s eyes. I think that it is no coincidence that in Matthew’s gospel, Jesus mentions the Golden Rule of doing unto others as you would have them do unto you right before explaining the narrow gate into God’s kingdom (Matthew 7:12-14). Jesus tells us that the only way to enter into heaven is through him, and I think that through knowing and loving him, we can’t help but have his heart for others. Living on the Narrow Way is challenging because it contradicts nearly everything our culture tells us to value and respect. 

As a child, I assumed it was called “The Narrow Way” because it was small and couldn’t hold many people. I now understand that the Narrow Way is a path that has room for anyone and everyone who is willing to pick up their cross and take the road less traveled with Jesus. It is a path where our hearts are breaking for the ways Earth doesn’t look like heaven and are being restored into the newness of life with Jesus all at once. 

“He came to his own people, and even they rejected him. But to all who believed him and accepted him, he gave the right to become children of God. They are reborn- not with a physical birth resulting from human passion or plan, but a birth that comes from God.” - John 1:12-13

Author | Katie Courson





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