** Many therefore of his disciples, when they had heard this, said, This is an hard saying; who can hear it? ** John 6:60
Each of us has had to face some hard sayings from the Lord. We have been given challenges to our faith and our understanding that sets us on a tilt for a season. We don’t necessarily lose our footing, but we do need to be quieter and more attentive than usual. They are challenges that stretch our trust level and are outside the parameters of what we lean on and depend on for our day to day. Some of these hard sayings are universal, words that each of us must come to grips with. Others are more personal, sayings that are directed at our own intimate walk with the Lord.
And like those that have gone before us, we need time to interpret and understand these hard sayings over time. Knowledge and understanding rarely happen in one day, they come to us through effort and through the passing of time. Hard sayings are not ditties, or childhood riddles. They are deep, obscured details that need to be diligently uncovered, piece by piece.
We can look at many characters in the Bible and watch their hard sayings come to life.
Like Jochebed, mother of Moses…putting her child in a basket in the river and then watching him grow up in Pharaoh’s home, and then seeing him flee for his own life after murdering someone.
Or like Abraham when he was told to sacrifice Isaac, the son of God’s promise.
Or Esther, sent off to marry a king, and then putting her life in peril when she approached him without being called into his presence.
Or Gideon, being called to go to battle against Israel’s enemy, having no military experience.
Throughout the Bible we can find many of these hard sayings. Words that require faith and courage. Words that we respond to gingerly, step-by-scary-step. Words that cause our faith to waiver a bit. Words that shake our world, our plans and our heart. Words that test us and show us who we really are.
Hard sayings. Words that are filled with challenge. Words that take us outside of our comfort zone. Words that bring us face to face with God and force us to make us ask ourselves some tough questions and challenge us to make some hard decisions.
But once we have survived the first hard sayings that the Lord gives us, we are stronger. Our faith has been stretched and we stand a bit taller inside. We get to see things others have yet to see. Like Moses and the burning bush.
And then the Lord knows He can trust us with more hard sayings. And our faith continues to grow. Little by little the things of this life lose their importance, and we yearn for the hard sayings. We yearn for the growing season. We yearn to be face to face with our Creator. Just Him and us and our own burning bush.
It’s a scary place and a messy place, and a glorious place all at the same time, being so close to Him.
This close proximity to His Holiness, sheds away some more of our uglies. It puts our life and our lifestyle into perspective. We see things from a new point of view. He deepens His grace and His mercy and His love in us.
And just like Moses when he came down from his 40 days on the mountain with God, our countenance is changed. We are different. We are just a little more like Him. Just a little. Because our new drop of mercy, grace and love cannot compare to His ocean.
His glory, beauty and perfect, holy heart is unfathomable. No matter how many hard sayings we receive and how many times our faith is tested, we will never know all there is to know about Him or be truly like Him while we live in this broken world and in this corrupt body.
But we can rejoice that we are counted worthy to receive these hard sayings. Worthy to suffer and feel the pain of purification, being transformed little by little into His image. Trusting that we are in our own story of faith. Like Jochebed, and Esther, and Hannah. And just like them, we won’t be able to see all that the future holds. Jochebed didn’t know all that Moses would accomplish, nor did Esther realize she would save the nation of Israel, nor did Hannah know that Samuel would be a great servant of God. Nor did Abraham know about Judah, or Boaz and Ruth, or David, Solomon and finally, Jesus Christ himself.
Each of them simply walked through their own hard sayings. And today we live the benefits of their walk.
And only the Lord and the future will show us the fruit of the faith that we hold onto during our own challenges. What will happen in the lives of our children? Our grandchildren? Our great grandchildren? our nations? because of the faith we held to when the Lord asked something hard from us. We will probably not know in this life. But in eternity, we will see Him as He is, we will know all that we did that had eternal value, and we will know how our own hard sayings impacted the next generations.
Treasures of faith today and hope for our tomorrow.
Walking where the giants of faith have walked.