Luke 9:23 Then He said to them all, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me.

God does not promise ease. He promises His Strength, His Presence, His Provision, but He doesn’t promise ease. He promises He will never leave us nor forsake us, but He does not say He won’t challenge us. John 16:33 says that we will have trials and tribulations when we follow Christ.

But, we want ease. We want to serve God, but we want it to be easy. “God, I’m ready to serve you, as long as the salary is right, I don’t have to move, I always have enough money and food, and my children can attend the same school. I’m ready to serve, as long as the church makes me smile, no one says anything hurtful, and everyone does everything my way. I’m ready to do great things for you Lord, as long as I’m not asked to lead, and not asked to follow, and not asked to do anything that I don’t find fun.” In other words, we’ll serve God in the absence of all difficulty. Let’s be honest… this serves no one but self.

When we set out to serve God, we serve knowing there will be difficulties. There will be hard days. There will be sickness. There will be people we disagree with. There will be money concerns. There will be times children stray. There will be unbelieving spouses. There will be friends who turn their backs. There will be family that question the calling.

We serve God, not in the absence of difficulties, but through the difficulties.

I often hear people say, “God won’t put anymore on me than I can stand.” It makes God sound like the logistics clerk and us the “strong person”. God says, “I will not put more on you than I can stand.” He will place whatever His Will requires in our life and, in our weakness, we must cry to Him to carry us. We must call on Christ to strengthen us. If we’re always strong enough to carry what God gives, we’re making ourselves out to be God and able to take on whatever He dishes out. Or, more likely, we’re simply not taking on much for Him.

God or Self? Difficulty or Ease? Is God the Vehicle carrying us or is He the clerk loading us? Expecting ease brings unnecessary difficulty into our daily walk with Him. Expect provision, love, strength, grace, mercy, compassion… expect challenge, trials, persecution, and tribulation. Expect no ease.

We serve God, not in the absence of difficulties, but through the difficulties. Presence of ease may indicate lack of service.