A Tough Road

A boulder-filled road slammed with massive craters, huge tree trunks, and abandoned cars stretches before me. I bring my car to a stop because there’s no way it can go any further. From here on, I’ll be walking. I step out, my feet landing on thick brown dirt with ridges as hard as granite.

My trendy shoes are no match for this jagged terrain. I struggle forward, carefully navigating each tricky step. Within minutes I’m perspiring from the exertion, yet I’ve only moved a few yards. A few other people are here on this wreck of a road with me, looking as dazed and overwhelmed as I’m beginning to feel.

I wonder how anyone can consistently move forward here, but I have no choice. It’s impossibly hard, yet nothing in me wants to turn around and go back to my comfortable car. This isn’t the road I started out on, but somehow I understand this road will take me where I need to be.

Do you ever feel like the road you’re on is so impossibly hard that you’ll never be able to move forward? The scene above is from a dream God gave me. It could also be a scene from my life right now. God is allowing my family to undergo many intense medical issues. Yet in spite of how much I dislike it, I firmly believe that God is in it.

I hear Him whispering to me, “Will you follow me if I lead you the hard way? Will you trust Me even when I take you the way you don’t want to go? Will you allow me to strengthen you in the midst of the journey?”

And the kicker: Will you worship me in the midst of your suffering?”

I think that when we choose to worship God in the middle of our hard road, it’s as close to worshipping Him in Spirit and in Truth as we can get. God is honored when we worship him in spite of difficult circumstances.

"God is a Spirit (a spiritual Being) and those who worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth (reality). John 4:24 (Amplified Bible)

How about you? Will you trust God even when He takes you the way you don't want to go? Are you willing to worship God in the midst of your difficult road?



27 comments:

Cheryl Barker said...

I agree, Julie. I think when we worship God when we are hurting, it must touch Him very deeply... And He will surely touch us back with His great love and tender comfort. May God continue to sustain you!

~*~KIMBERLY~*~ said...

Yes Lord!

Madison said...

It took me years of trying to get God to treat me with kit gloves before I decided to praise Him right in the middle of it all. That has become my great privilege. Great post. I believe God will hold you up in this painful time.

Kelly Combs said...

I pray God will continue to reveal himself to you. And that your family will soon be over the rough road and onto smooth sailing!

I got your email, and have been thinking about you LOTS! I'll be in touch. Just haven't had a chance to respond yet.

Wendy @ All in a Day's Thought said...

Hi Julie,
Love the background. Still praying for your family. I recall a time in my life I felt so much pain that in church I had to leave worship. I struggled to praise God through it, but broke through and was able to do just that. It took a Jacob kind of wrestling. God blessed me b/c I hung on.
~ Wendy

Terri Tiffany said...

You brought tears to my eyes with this one. We are on that same road right now and I want off it so badly but I know I can't. Yes I worship God in the midst of my pain! I know he is the one to lead me out. Praying your rough road ends really really soon for your whole famly!

Katie said...

Julie,
Thank you so much for visiting my blog and for your kind words. You have a amazing testimony. My goodness. I love P31 ministries and I used to be a Mops Director in my area. So I am framiliar with Momsense Mag. I love your story. I too came from a broken home with all kinds of issues. Met a wonderful man either of us knew the Lord really. We have been transformed. Only God can do that kind of work..I will be reading your blod, I love it. It challenges me.

Lynn Cowell said...

Julie,
Our hearts in the same place. Like the disciples said, "Who do we have besides you?". He is our everything!
Stop by my blog today if you can www.LynnCowell.com :)

PS Beautiful writing

Paula (SweetPea) said...

Wow...such great and powerful words here.

"Do you ever feel like the road you’re on is so impossibly hard that you’ll never be able to move forward?" --Absolutely, yes. Yes, yes, yes. I'm so tired of limbo but yet, I believe it is He that is calling me to believe so limbo comes with the package deal.

"Yet in spite of how much I dislike it, I firmly believe that God is in it. ---oh, I so believe God is in it, in my situation too.

I love these questions you hear Him whispering to you, “Will you follow me if I lead you the hard way? Will you trust Me even when I take you the way you don’t want to go? Will you allow me to strengthen you in the midst of the journey? Will you worship me in the midst of your suffering?”

There is so much power in worshipping and praising in the midst of suffering. It's so hard but there's such power and blessing.

I've never been to your site but came as someone suggested it to Lysa Terkeurst in her comments.

I always have my ears perked up when I hear: trial, suffering, hard road, rejection, etc.

Jill said...

Julie, what a great post and I love your illustration! I can relate to some of the questions you pose as you bring it all to a close. He never said it would be easy... I just posted the other day about hope during a dark time and how He works even when the walk is hard...though the pain is real, His peace is powerful. He can and will restore what's broken and though He takes away, we must not forget He is a giving God. Blessings to you and prayers too, Jill

Billy Coffey said...

Loved this post, Julie. Sometimes the road really is tough, but that just makes getting to the end all the more satisfying.

Karen said...

Julie, your family is in my prayers. I share the hard road with you. I too, am out of the car. I just keep "running to the mercy seat" as the song says. Our pastor says, "When you can't see His hand, trust His heart."

Thanks for sharing so honestly.

ginny said...

Julie, We are on that road also. In fact, it has been over two years and we still are struggling to deal with it. In the midst of all of this, we still struggle to praise God, but we do. In fact, praising God is all we have. I hope your rough road will end soon. A very anointed man told me once" God sometimes takes a difficult crooked road to lead you straight to Him"
Sending your encouragement and many blessings.

Sista In Arms Lxx said...

(tears in eyes )Thank you for posting this, the road is very familiar, it's hard going,your words are an encouragement, just what I needed. Lxx

One Happy Campa said...

Julie,
What a vivid picture you paint with your words. Those questions God is asking you are so simple yet so profound. They require no answer other than to step out in faith and say "Yes Lord!" I will be praying for you and your family! May the Lord sustain you through this season as He works ALL things to your good. It is so great to meet you!

Laurie said...

Yes I can definitely relate to a hard and seemingly impossible road. I feel that way in my life now, as my husband waits for his next job and as I raise two small children who cause me ever more to lean on Christ! I guess those hard roads are where we get to know God, who delights in making possible. Praying for you and God's hand upon your path.
Blessings, Laurie

Jody Hedlund said...

Hi Julie,

Hope you're having a good week! I'm still praying for you and your agent-venture!! ;)

I love your post! We do have such crumbling paths at times. But it's so good to know we're not walking this alone, that our Savior is often carrying us!

Colleen said...

Julie,

I found your blog after you posted on Glynnis' today. I am "anonymous" and I wanted to thank you for posting that you are praying for me. it has been a very challenging day! I can't remember when I've cried so much. It is a very rough road, indeed.

I will try to praise God through all of this. I know only He can see me through this difficult journey. I have heard that God has repaired broken marriages, but I have yet to believe in my heart that it is possible.

Thank you for your prayers.

Julie Gillies said...

Colleen:

I will keep praying for you. I think no one can pray for another in a marriage mess like someone who's been through it themselves.

If we're wiling to praise Him when it hurts the most, He is not only glorified, but He shifts our focus onto Him, instead of the awful situation.

Praying you have a peaceful evening in Jesus' presence.

Diane said...

I have a family situation that has been going on for 14 years. It has not been fixed the easy way, so now we're taking the hard road. I know God is working many things out in me and I pray the others involved too. God causes all things to work together for good! :O)

CHRISTINE said...

Julie, I have an award for you!

Melinda said...

Hi Julie!
Oh, you know that I can relate to this post, girl! God is faithful. Period. I don't understand His ways sometimes, but I know His character. And sometimes that has to be enough.

Love you!

Deb said...

Julie,

The road is tough for me and my family right now.

And the it doesn't seem to be getting any easier.

But I want to keep following Him.

And worship Him in the chaos and confusion.

Because I know that He loves us.

Sweet dreams.

Rachel B said...

Such great writing...and something that we all need to hear! What a neat spiritual dream that God gave to you. Isn't it cool how God reveals Himself to us?!

It's easy to praise the Lord when all is going "right", but the real test is when things aren't going so well. God is good because He is good...not because everything is going smoothly in our life. :) If only we can keep perspective!!

Thanks for sharing and reminding me of all of this today. I needed to hear it!

Sande said...

Boulders are on my road. They are the lies that confuse me and I cant see past them to know what the truth really is ....!! Frustrating

KelliGirl said...

Julie,
Wow! What a dream. So vivid and clear. It brings to mind a recent Bible study.

I asked the ladies to think about their walk with the Lord and decide what kind of shoes they were wearing for the journey (e.g. high heels, slippers, flip flops, etc.) I answered that I probably wore sneakers. I followed up and asked them (and me) what was keeping them from wearing hiking boots?

Because, as your dream illustrates, don't we need a sturdy pair for the journey?

It sounds like your boots are laced up and climbing up the rocky path. I pray that God continues to give you strength and guidance, and that you find a shady tree to rest under for a bit. Praying for your family, too.

Thank you for your shining example of faith. You inspire me.

Lindsey @ A New Life said...

I'm learning to :-) Great post Julie; and I have really been amazed at how God has shown up so vividly when I finally surrendered and embraced the "hard road".

He was always there, but my hesitancy in trusting revented me from REALLY seeing Him before.

Thank you for the encouragement today!

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