The Toughest Trails

The Toughest Trails


If you were planning a weekend hiking trip and wanted to get as far from civilization possible, see the most breathtaking sights, experience wilderness and wildlife, you would prepare for the difficult trails. And once you started the hike, your heart would pound with excitement and exertion as you started up the first significant incline. But all the while, despite the obstacles and difficulties, you would be saying to yourself, ‘This is great! This is so worth it!’ 

If you don’t like the idea of a strenuous hike, think about a challenging hobby, project, pastime, etc. (building a large multi-layer patio on your house, crocheting a new and complex pattern, solving a difficult problem at work, or anything else that would be difficult but rewarding).

Sometimes human nature draws us to the easy trails; fatigue, stress, fear or other barriers make what would be a worthy accomplishment seem unattainable or undesirable.

Thank God that Jesus didn’t take the easy path. He lovingly humbled Himself and took the toughest trail.

The Toughest Trail is the one Christ walked on.
  • Isaiah 53:4-5 Surely He has borne our griefs And carried our sorrows; Yet we esteemed Him stricken, Smitten by God, and afflicted. 5 But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, And by His stripes we are healed.
  • Philippians 2:8 And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.

Jesus took the toughest trail for us. And by accepting Him as Savior, we have also chosen to take a tough trail of our own.

As His children, we have to walk a difficult trail.
  • Philippians 1:29 For to you it has been granted on behalf of Christ, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake,

The Toughest Trails

Are the Most Challenging

Jesus, the God-man, suffered all the difficulties associated with walking the toughest trail. During His life on earth He experienced:

Exhaustion
  • Matthew 8:24 And suddenly a great tempest arose on the sea, so that the boat was covered with the waves. But He was asleep.
    • Jesus was so warn out, He fell asleep on a boat during a mighty storm.

Frustration
  • Mark 9:19 He answered him and said, “O faithless generation, how long shall I be with you? How long shall I bear with you? Bring him to Me.”
    • Despite His Words, despite His Works, sometime people just didn’t understand or believe.

Sorrow
  • Luke 19:41 Now as He drew near, He saw the city and wept over it,
    • Jesus understood the consequences for all humanity’s sin. He wept over ignorance and suffering.

Despair
  • Matthew 26:38 Then He said to them, “My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even to death. Stay here and watch with Me.”
    • God incarnate experienced despair as he faced unimaginable torture (emotionally – mocked and scorned; physically – beaten and crucified; spiritually – bearing our sin and temporary separation from the Father)


The Toughest Trails

Have the Best Views

Jesus stood on the Mount of Transfiguration with Moses and Elijah! He raised the dead, healed the sick and hurting, He saw so many yield to the truth of His Words. On the toughest trail He experienced:

Victory
  • Matthew 4:11 Then the devil left Him, and behold, angels came and ministered to Him.
    • He overcame the temptation of Satan. He overcame death!!!

Peace
  • John 14:27 Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.
    • He has and is the ultimate peace and shares that peace with those who surrender to Him.

Purpose
  • Luke 4:18 “The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, Because He has anointed Me To preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to the captives And recovery of sight to the blind, To set at liberty those who are oppressed;
    • He knew from eternity past and with every step He took towards the cross why He walked on earth as a man.

Rejoicing
  • Luke 10:21 In that hour Jesus rejoiced in the Spirit and said, “I thank You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that You have hidden these things from the wise and prudent and revealed them to babes. Even so, Father, for so it seemed good in Your sight.
    • He rejoiced in the goodness, generosity and glory of His Heavenly Father!


The Toughest Trails

Take You to the Best Destinations

God came to earth as a man through a virgin birth. He then lived a sinless life as the God-man Jesus Christ. He was arrested, convicted, tortured and punished for crimes He did not commit. And after reaching the end of the toughest trail:
  • John 19:30 So when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, “It is finished!” And bowing His head, He gave up His spirit.
    • Jesus perfectly completed His mission. He paid our sin debt by sacrificing Himself on a Roman cross.
  • Luke 24:51 Now it came to pass, while He blessed them, that He was parted from them and carried up into heaven. 
    • Jesus joined God the Father in Heaven; he has gone to prepare a place for us. 


How did Jesus endure the suffering and difficulties of His life on earth? He remained focused on submission to God’s will and the fulfillment of God’s promises!
  • Matthew 26:39 He went a little farther and fell on His face, and prayed, saying, “O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will.”
  • Hebrews 12:2 looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
  • Philippians 2:9-11 Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, 10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, 11 and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.


How do we endure the difficulties of the Christian life? We endure the trials and tribulations of the trail we walk on and follow Jesus’ example all the way to Heaven!!!
  • 1 Peter 2:21-23 For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps: 22 “Who committed no sin, Nor was deceit found in His mouth”; 23 who, when He was reviled, did not revile in return; when He suffered, He did not threaten, but committed Himself to Him who judges righteously;
  • Hebrews 12:1 Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,
  • 2 Corinthians 4:18 while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.


Always pay attention to what you are doing;
But don’t get too caught up
in the here and now.
 
Enjoy the smiles and
endure the sufferings of today;
But find your motivation and peace in
God’s eternal truth and promises!


Prayer

Father: You know better than anyone that life in a fallen world brings suffering, pain, discouragement and despair. But in Christ Jesus there is comfort and joy for today, and the promise of life in Heaven for eternity. I pray the example of Jesus’ walk on the toughest trail will encourage those who are focusing too much on the sorrows of today. May Your Word bring perspective and peace. May Your truth save and sanctify! In Christ’s name I pray, Amen.