Jesus really must have bugged people because He spoke in parables and loved a good “figure of speech”. Well, at least His disciples received an explanation now and again, if they needled Him enough! (See John 11:1-16, for example). Very often I have asked questions like, “Lord, why can’t you just tell me the answer?” “Why is it that I seem deaf to Your whispers?” “Why is it that I seem to hear You most clearly during the storms of life?”
I think one answer to this dilemma is rooted in my prideful, stubborn self will. If God can steer me in the right direction, and yet at the same time build submission, integrity, wisdom, or humility into my poor life, then so be it. I just want an answer. Lord, is it ‘yes’ or ‘no?’ But God, the ultimate multitasker, would rather teach me to live the answer, so that I will not have to ask that question ever again. A simple yes or no usually teaches me little. I will just congratulate myself for discerning the will of God and go autonomously about my life having gained little.
On the other hand, if I am forced to weigh and agonize through my options, pour over scripture without insight, walk through doors that lead nowhere, and even crash and burn because of poor choices, my cognitive processes, tempered by stings and insults, ultimately will add wisdom and the “peaceable fruit of righteousness.” Most of us focus best during a crisis. The pulse increases, the face flushes, ganglia synapses in the brain fire off on all cylinders, as we hold on for dear life with one arm and grope for answers with the other. Thus, stormy trials add dimension to understanding.
Most people do not “like”. It is too gritty, too real, too painful to follow Christ wherever His lessons take us. Jesus used a figure of speech on another occasion as recorded in John 6:53,54
|Then Jesus said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you,
unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His
blood, you have no life in you. Whoever eats My flesh
and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him
up at the last day.”
Many so called disciples deserted Jesus when they heard this strange saying. Jesus is like that. He speaks in riddles, parables, hyperbole. No, we do not become cannibals every time we partake of the communion. But we do, like Jesus, learn obedience through the things that we suffer.