I have developed an affection for a verse in Psalm 16: Propter verba labiorum tuorum ego custodivi vias duras, “On account of the words of Thy lips, I have kept the arduous paths” (Ps. 16:4). King David, to whom these words are attributed, knew what it was like to keep to arduous paths. At the low point of his reign, he was driven forth from his royal city by his usurping son Absalom.
And David said to his servants, that were with him in Jerusalem: “Arise and let us flee: for we shall not escape else from the face of Absalom: make haste to go out, lest he come and overtake us, and bring ruin upon us, and smite the city with the edge of the sword.” … But David went up by the ascent of mount Olivet, going up and weeping, walking barefoot, and with his head covered, and all the people that were with them, went up with their heads covered weeping. … “Perhaps the Lord may look upon my affliction, and the Lord may render me good for the cursing of this day.” (2 Sam. 15:14,30; 16:12)
We may not ever face a situation as desperate as the one faced by David, but no life will pass without its moments of weeping, affliction, and ruin. Some will be called to enter even more fully into the Passion of Christ and His martyrs. No matter what, we will be asked to tread arduous paths for the sake of God’s Word.