I have sometimes heard religion described in such a way that its high colouring has displeased me. It is true “her ways are ways of pleasantness;” but it is not true that a Christian never has sorrow or trouble. It is true that light-eyed cheerfulness, and airy-footed love, can go through the world without much depression and tribulation: but it is not true that Christianity will shield a man from trouble; nor ought it to be so represented. In fact, we ought to speak of it in the other way. Soldier of Christ, if thou enlisteth, thou wilt have to do hard battle. There is no bed of down for thee; there is no riding to heaven in a chariot; the rough way must be trodden; mountains must be climbed, rivers must be forded, dragons must be fought, giants must be slain, difficulties must be overcome, and great trials must be borne. It is not a smooth road to heaven, believe me; for those who have gone but a very few steps therein, have found it to be a rough one. It is a pleasant one; it is the most delightful in all the world, but it is not easy in itself, it is only pleasant because of the company, because of the sweet promises on which we lean, because of our Beloved who walks with us through all the rough and thorny breaks of this vast wilderness. Christian, expect trouble: “Think it not strange concerning the fiery trial…. as though some strange thing happened unto you;” for as truly as you are a child of God, your Saviour has left you for his legacy,—“In the world, ye shall have tribulation; in me ye shall have peace.”
For meditation: The man who proclaims that the Christian life is an easy one is not only contradicting the Lord Jesus Christ and the apostles, but also exposing his own ignorance of true Christianity. Jesus promised his followers blessings now “with persecutions” and eternal life to come (Mark 10:29-30).