Along our God-composed journey of faith…at some point in time…we discover that God asks too much of us.
This is a truism that will resonate with Spirit-born Christians engaged in a genuine adventure of faith…actively pursuing some type of Christian ministry or calling…following the leading of Jesus Christ.
The fact that this is a reality in our lives, and that we see this recorded in the biblical narrative stories of faith…is a compelling argument for the existence of God and the divine origin of the Bible.
God asking too much of us through the interaction of a life-script calling or mission-plan not of our making…outside of our origination but instead coming to us through revelation…that stretches us beyond our seeming capacity in a divinely initiated relationship with God that has the trajectory of God-ward toward us rather from us-ward toward God…as asserted by atheism and skeptical unbelief to be human literary fiction…to be a product of humanistic thinking…is nonsensical.
A personal relationship between God and people that reached this level of intimacy and commitment…of God asking too much in our calling or mission…is beyond human literary invention as a made-up characterization of God or of a biblical narrative story of faith…because such a fictionalization falls completely outside of the normalcy of worldly convention and thinking…and would not stand up to the empirical scrutiny of human experience for any length of time…as has already been briefly argued in this book.
No one would ever invent this reality of God asking too much of us…because fictionalized religion would never get that far.
One explanation why God asks too much of us is that He has a lot to give us…He has a lot of territory to cover.
In a biblical narrative story of faith…not only does God have a lot to give us…but through the working out of the events of a journey of faith…these biblical characters have a lot to give to mankind…God giving through them to other people…and to us.
It almost seems in these biblical narrative stories of faith that God skips over the reasons “why” for a particular storyline…and jumps immediately into actualizing the events as if the “why” is not that important for the time being…or is beyond our current comprehension of the “big picture.”
It is as if God is saying to the biblical characters of faith: “trust me for now…I know exactly what I am doing…even though to you it is not entirely clear at this moment in time.”
The idea that God would use the biblical characters of faith…as a means to give what God has…through them to us…using the biblical faith of Hebrews 11:1 while bypassing collaboration as to the “why” of their specific and varied callings in life…is a singularly unique and specifically innovative concept in the broad marketplace of ideas…in the breadth and width of human experience.
A look at several of the biblical narrative stories of faith would be helpful here.
Acts 23:11 records Jesus visiting Paul at night, saying: “Be of good cheer, Paul: for as thou hast testified of me in Jerusalem, so must thou bear witness also at Rome.”
After being violently rejected by the Jerusalem populace while giving his defense and witness from the steps of the Roman garrison castle (Acts 21:31-22:30)…and again violently rejected by the Jewish religious and political leaders of the Sanhedrin council…by the very home-town crowd Paul used to be in-tight with before converting to Christianity…the discouragement must have been overwhelming.
But I do not think Paul was ready to “throw in the towel” and give up on his calling and ministry…but Paul may have entertained the notion that God was asking too much of him.
Paul could not see ahead down through the upcoming twenty centuries to our current time…when his thirteen letters to the churches (including Hebrews) would strengthen and inspire tens and hundreds of millions of Christians in the “church age”…and establish orthodox Christian theology for the benefit of countless numbers of believers.
On that night in the first-century following these two enormous setbacks for Paul…Jesus does not explain all of the fine details of the “why” to Paul as to what is happening in the moment…but confirms Paul’s calling and ministry once again with His divine presence and encouragement.
“Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him” (1 Cor. 2:9).
I think this verse can…and does…apply to the unimaginable sights and sounds we will discover in heaven. But it can also describe God having a lot to give us…and to give through us…in the short length of time available in a human life-span.
God asking too much of us may simply be the product of the richness of what God has to give us…and the imperative of using the most brilliantly concise combination of events and circumstances to convey the “all truth” of John 16:13 to us in the most creatively insightful way imaginable.
The mission of Abraham on Mount Moriah may be the most difficult thing anyone has been asked by God to do (Gen. 22:1-14)…but also had the highest and purest benefit to us. God saw the mature and developed faith of Abraham…as God had intended…that Abraham believed that God was able to raise up Isaac from the dead (Heb. 11:17-19)…and said to Himself: “yes, this is the biblical faith that will bless untold millions in the coming centuries and for all eternity”…earning Abraham the priceless moniker “the father of faith.”
But equally important…the entire scenario of the ram caught in a nearby thicket…that Abraham then uses as a replacement for Isaac as a sin offering to God…informs us of the timeless foresight of God in being able to craft countless similar scenarios large and small for our benefit and for the benefit of others…scenarios containing the highest, best, and most elegant outcomes imaginable.
Abraham could have said to God: “in this that you are asking me to do with Isaac my only son…God…you are asking far too much.”
Only God has the foresight to see down the long centuries in time to a lonely hill in Jerusalem displaying three crosses of execution…the center cross bearing the divine Son of God Jesus Christ as the Passover Lamb of God sacrifice for mankind’s sin.
Abraham could have said to himself as he and Isaac traveled to Mount Moriah: “all this is working against me”…and it was.
Biblical narrative stories of faith have the uniquely novel goal…not found anywhere else in all of human literature or experience…of removing going our own way from our life-script trajectory.
God’s plans seemed to work against going our own way in this incredibly difficult task of Abraham letting go of his way to make room for God putting into action His higher ways and thoughts in-the-moment…Abraham not knowing that God would shortly shout from heaven “Stop…I myself will provide”…inferring from that time forward that only God Himself could provide a candidate worthy enough to be a human sacrifice for sin…Jesus Christ the sinless, blemish-free Son of God on Calvary Hill.