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Some things are just hard

May 18, 2010

Sometimes, a conversation or circumstances will prompt me to return to thoughts I had tucked away, as if they were a gift intended for me when I was older, which I discovered in its hiding place, examined, and left alone. Later, I will read something, or have a conversation, that will prompt me to retrieve the cached gift and open it. This happened when I was reading something last night by Sinclair Ferguson on sanctification, and how we cannot measure a person’s spiritual growth by his present standing height; we must know the difference between his former stature and how spiritually tall he stands now. It’s the measure of what he’s overcome, not of how blessed a life he’s had, that measures the true bounds of the matter. Justification and adoption are acts of God’s free grace: they are by fiat, once for all time. Sanctification is a work of God’s free grace: a work in progress, an ongoing thing, not to be measured once for all time.

I shouldn’t find it really a very hard question, “Why is Christ pitiful, why does he deal with us mercifully, tenderly, with pity?” Because it’s hard. Some things just are hard. God would not have to bestow pity if he did not set us in circumstances and a fallen condition requiring pity. Our merciful, pitiful Savior knows that things are hard — for our good, for his glory, for our ultimate very joy — and yet, hard. And just knowing that he knows this is more important and more touching and more loving and more merciful than if the things of this life were easy.

But it really is a very hard question, because I don’t like to admit things are hard for me. But they are, they are hard, and the truth of Christ’s word is his bond that he knows they are hard, and I can feel understood, and at the same time, sad, and at the same time, grateful, and keep running my assigned heat in the race. But it’s hard. It always has been. And those who have gone before haven’t left us behind; they’ve broken trail for us.

  1. Vic permalink
    May 18, 2010 12:29 pm

    Very nice to remember. His yoke is easy and his burden is light, but only when we set to learn of him. (Matt. 11:29)

    But we keep wanting to go in other directions, like sheep. The Shepherd then is known to use pointy sticks to bring us to his fold. (Acts 9:5).

  2. May 18, 2010 12:47 pm

    Yes, it’s refreshing to remember that Paul, greatest of trail breakers, also kicked against the goads.

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