Some Things are Hard to Understand - Day 28

There are hard things in life, and we would all probably just as soon avoid these difficult occurrences whenever possible. But there are hard things that cannot be ignored, It's hard to have a flat tire when you are driving on a snowy road, but is has to be changed. It's hard to have a sick child, but we still have to do what we can to help them get better. We have all had hard classes that required extra study, but if we wanted to advance to the next grade, we just buckled down and made the effort.


My point is this: There are some hard things that are too important to give up on. This is also true with parts of the Bible. Some things are hard to do, others are just plain hard to understand. Peter addressed this very fact:


But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, where righteousness dwells. So then, dear friends, since you are looking forward to this, make every effort to be found spotless, blameless and at peace with him. Bear in mind that our Lord’s patience means salvation, just as our dear brother Paul also wrote you with the wisdom that God gave him.

He writes the same way in all his letters, speaking in them of these matters. His letters contain some things that are hard to understand, which ignorant and unstable people distort, as they do the other Scriptures, to their own destruction. Therefore, dear friends, since you have been forewarned, be on your guard so that you may not be carried away by the error of the lawless and fall from your secure position. But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever! Amen.

II Peter 3:13-18, NIV


In the passage above, Peter discusses the end times. He points out that there really will be a point when this world will come to an end. This end will be hard, but it is a fact so people better get ready. He points out that those who are ready have Heaven to look forward to. Then he says something that we might rather not hear. He says that some things in Scripture, specifically in the writings of the Apostle Paul, are hard to understand. Many people will use this prospect of difficulty as an excuse to not even try to understand. But this would be a fatal mistake.


Just as we cannot sit on the side of the road with a flat tire in a snow storm, we cannot fail to act on the way God wants us to live, even if it's hard. Just as we can't ignore a desperately sick child by pretending he is well, we cannot ignore the spiritual illness that sometimes creeps into our lives. The point that Peter makes is not that the writings are too hard and therefore impossible to understand. Rather, he is pointing out that the ignorant and unstable will end up seeing the difficulty and ignoring their responsibility. By doing so, they are sowing the seeds of their own destruction.


We have read this far in the New Testament to find out what God's will is for us. We must not stop now, even if the going gets tough from time to time. We all know from experience that nothing worthwhile can come without effort. We have also learned through experience that we cannot have quality results without quality effort. We cannot deny that some things within Scripture are hard to understand, but neither should we think for a moment that we cannot understand what is necessary. The reason we read is because we love God and Christ. They have given everything for us and are worthy of our best effort. Anything short of that will leave us ignorant, unstable and lost.


But, if we will do our best to understand God's will, He will help us to accomplish that very thing for He loves us. Do not misunderstand His grace for an easy path. The easy path is broad indeed, but the way of Christ has never been found upon that path of ease. It is the narrow path that we are searching for, and it is the narrow path which we will find, but only if we will be willing to expend the great effort that all hard things require.


Today's reading is taken from II Peter 2, through the letters of John and Jude. Some of these writings will take extra time to understand, for they are hard in some places. But, in the end, there is Heaven. And God Himself will help you every step of the way.