God asked Abraham to offer his son Isaac in a sacrifice. Denying the natural instinct to protect the life of one’s child is never easy.
God expected that Job would be loyal to Him while allowing Job to be mercilessly grilled in loss, pain, and, especially, confusion.
God asked Jonah to preach the words of repentance to the people of Nineveh whom Jonah hated so much. Overcoming the deeply ingrained emotion of hatred is never easy for anyone.
God extended His hands of protection only after Daniel was thrown into the lion’s den, not before. Having to face the threat of life in front of hungry wild beasts is never easy. Remember that fear could be as debilitating as the pain itself.
God allowed the three friends of Daniel to be actually thrown into the furnace that was as seven times as hot as usual. Prior to that, they were given a chance to compromise their belief. Refusing the sweet temptation of relief in the front of an imminent punishment is never easy.
God, through Elijah, asks a single mother to give up a portion of her last meal that she was going to prepare for her and her child before expecting to starve to death afterwards. (I Kings 17:8-15)
It was rather natural for the people on the hill of Golgotha to expect God to save Jesus from the crucifixion if Jesus really was the Messiah that he claimed to be. Instead, Jesus suffered the whole blow fully and thoroughly and died at last. The night before, Jesus prayed to God asking, if possible, that he would be spared from this dreadful misery. It was God’s wish and expectation to let all this happen to Jesus.
It is almost like God putting us on a collision course and actually let the collision happen. It is only after the painful collision that He gives us an escape, or a cure, or a resurrection.
It tells me that I shouldn’t expect the life of believing God would be any easy for me. In a sense, I should be expecting for a very harsh treatment in life if I were to live a life of obedience. Perhaps that is what Jesus meant when he said the road that leads to life is narrow and the gate small.
*transposted from facebook note]]>