God never promised it would be always easy. He didn't promise a smooth path with no detours or bumps in the road.
Take Ezekiel for example.
God sent Ezekiel to speak the truth to a rebellious, impudent and stubborn people who continually transgressed against Him. Read Ezekiel 2.
And He said to me, "Son of man, I send you to the people of Israel, to nations of rebels, who have rebelled against Me.
Sounds like a difficult assignment. Sounds like Ezekiel is walking into a den of lions who won't care what he has to say, any more than they care what God has been saying. But God sent Ezekiel. And God gave him this assurance:
They will know that a prophet has been among them.
Don't worry, Ezekiel. That bunch of rebels will know that My prophet has arrived. I'm going with you, so don't be afraid.
Be not afraid of them,
nor be afraid of their words;
though briars and thorns are with you
and you sit on scorpions.
God was letting him know ahead of time that it wasn't going to be easy. There would be nasty words, briars and thorns, scorpions. Ouch.
It's the same for us. God wants His people to be courageous, to not fear when accusations come. He wants us to walk the path He has laid out for us, knowing that He is our shield and our rock,
For the Lord gives wisdom; from His mouth come knowledge and understanding; He stores up sound wisdom for the upright; He is a shield to those who walk in integrity, guarding the paths of justice and watching over the way of His saints.
A child of God always has this assurance. He is a shield to those who walk in integrity. He watches over us every step of the way. The path may not be an easy one, but it's easy to trust a God like that.
Those who trust in the Lord are like Mount Zion, which cannot be moved, but abides forever. As the mountains surround Jerusalem, so the Lord surrounds His people, from this time forth and forevermore.
God keeps His children solid and immovable, like a mountain. He encompasses His children like the mountains that surround Jerusalem, always guarding, always protecting, always shielding.
This is the God we serve! He calls us to serve Him in the midst of thorns and briars and scorpions - yet He is with us, protecting and shielding us in spite of the pain.
Romans 12 is such a practical chapter.
I appeal to you therefore by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.
A living sacrifice. Sacrifices in the Old Testament were always killed; the blood was shed to appease the wrath of a Holy, Perfect God. But there is no more need for the shedding of blood because Jesus is the Propitiation for our sins. He shed His blood and paid the price. No more sacrifices are necessary for redemption.
But Paul is teaching in Romans that God is so rich in mercy and grace that we ought to present ourselves wholly to Him, to be used as instruments of righteousness in this wicked world. Just like Ezekiel obeyed God's call, we ought to serve wholeheartedly. Ezekiel was motivated by a vision of heaven. We are motivated by more.
We're motivated by the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God. He always does what is right and good - including sending His children on a difficult journey.
We can't head off into the thick of things without being prepared, and the only way to be prepared is with a renewed mind.
Be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect!
Testings and trials will come as we walk humbly with our God. Every saint in the Bible endured suffering - and so will we. But we have the joy of knowing that God is with us, that He is using us for His glory, and that despite the briars and thorns and scorpions, our lives can make a difference.
Read Romans 12:9-21 to see how to humbly walk with God:
Marks of the True Christian
9 Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. 10 Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. 11 Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. 12 Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. 13 Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality.
14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. 16 Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight. 17 Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. 18 If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. 19 Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” 20 To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” 21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.