When God Requires Hard Things
There are times when we read things that God does or that God requires and quite honestly they seem unnecessary or even harsh. In fact, at times they seem almost “unGodlike”. We need to guard against equating God’s goodness with good things that happen in our lives and not the difficult things. For example, when someone gets a promotion or goes into remission we often will read a post like, “God is good”. But, is God “good” when the promotion is a pink slip or the cancer spreads? Sounds a little awkward to read, “Got fired today…God is good”. Or, “My wife left me today…God is good (ok, in some situations that might not be so bad 🙂 (just kidding)) But really, does God’s goodness depend on our circumstances? And do we trust Him when those circumstances are terrible…especially when we understand that God has allowed or brought those circumstances into our lives?
In Ezekiel 24, the prophet Ezekiel gets some very disturbing news. Let’s read what God says to him: 15 Also the word of the Lord came to me, saying, 16 “Son of man, behold, I take away from you the desire of your eyes with one stroke; yet you shall neither mourn nor weep, nor shall your tears run down. 17 Sigh in silence, make no mourning for the dead; bind your turban on your head, and put your sandals on your feet; do not cover your lips, and do not eat man’s bread of sorrow.” 18 So I spoke to the people in the morning, and at evening my wife died; and the next morning I did as I was commanded. God told Ezekiel that He was going to take his wife’s life and Ezekiel was not allowed to mourn for her. Read that last sentence again please. And the entire purpose of her death and Ezekiel’s reaction was to demonstrate how Israel was to react when God punished them for their sin. But Ezekiel’s wife wasn’t being killed for her sin or for Ezekiel’s sin. And Ezekiel does what God says. This is so contradictory to what our modern understanding of God and goodness is all about, isn’t it?
God required a very difficult thing, a tragic thing. And Ezekiel obeyed. What does this tell us about God? It says a lot of things but the one thing I want to emphasize is that even when God tells us to do hard things we need to obey. We cannot tell God that what He says is wrong or too difficult. We have to obey. When God requires hard things we cannot shy away from obedience. I know it isn’t easy. I know that to us it even seems unfair. But are we willing to follow Him through the difficult times or only the easy times? Is God good even in the midst of bad times? The answer is YES! When difficult things happen, they do not mean that God has lost control or does not care. When we obey we will be blessed and we will be used of God for His purposes. If there is a difficulty in your life right now don’t let it shake your belief in the character of God. Lean into God’s faithfulness.