“It would be easier if He wasn’t who He said He was.”
Those words, penned by Jennie Allen in her book- Nothing To Prove, stared me right in the face. She was giving words to Peter as he pondered his denial of Jesus. It would have been easier for him not to have to look Jesus in the eyes again after his betrayal. Those piercing, loving, forgiving eyes gazing into eyes that had denied knowing Him. It would have been easier for Peter to just try and forget.
It would be easier. And I want easy! Too many people have put me on a pedestal and I want to knock it right out from under myself every single time. You have NO idea what goes on in my heart, and that’s probably my fault for not telling you as much of the ugly as is necessary to kick the pedestal down. I am NOT an inspiration… so just stop. Right here and right now, I admit that what I continually strive for in this life is a way to make things easier for myself. And when something goes wrong, I immediately look for a way out.
For example, I thought my hope was in the right place because the thing I hope for more than anything is Heaven. I long for it every moment. But God recently broke through my thoughts and showed me that my motivation in hoping for Heaven is not pure. I hope for Heaven so that I can run away from this life. Because it would be easier for me to be there right now than it is for me to be here. It shook me that my motivation for the end of this life is not Jesus. Rather, it’s an escape. And it breaks my heart that I want the escape more than I want Jesus. Because if I really wanted Jesus more than anything, I could have all of Jesus right now. I could have all of Him and He could have all of me if I would stop running from Him.
But I run because the Jesus life feels too hard for me. It would be easier if I could just ignore every hard thing, and I’m ashamed to say that I have tried. I try all the time. It would be easier if Jesus had called me to a pain-free life. Instead, He reminds me that He won’t take my pain away but He will help me carry it (Isaiah 53:4). It would be easier if I could turn a cold shoulder to the ones who hurt the people I love, but there’s that “honor one another above yourselves” thing (Romans 12:10). It would be easier to ignore any nudge of calling on my life because I don’t have what it takes, but Jesus said the Holy Spirit would accomplish it through me (Matthew 10:19-20). It would be easier if Jesus would stop calling me to have my heart ripped to shreds, but there is a pruning process that is necessary for bearing fruit (John 15:2). It would be easier if I could just stop my heart from loving altogether but Jesus said loving God and loving my neighbor as myself are the two greatest commandments (Matthew 22:37-39). It would be easier if none of this mattered. It would be easier if Jesus wasn’t who He said He was.
But is easier really better? Today, I really want to say- yes, yes it is. But I know better. Easier invites complacency, stagnancy, pride, a life choked-out from the lack of Living water. Easier takes instead of gives. It consumes comfort instead of offering it to someone else. Easier is safe and selfish. Easier extinguishes real relationships. And easier does not care about others. Easier means this life is all there is and, oh my, I can’t handle that! Easier here means there’s nothing to look forward to There. Easier is a wasted life.
It would be easier if He wasn’t who He said He was. Then I could relax and forget about the hard things He calls me to – the loving my enemies, the giving up my control, the being seen and vulnerable. And though my heart feels pulverized by this life that is so, so hard, easier is not better. Because easier is a life without Jesus. When I think about it, when I REALLY think about it, life without Jesus is not actually easier. That’s just an illusion. Because a life without Jesus is a life done alone. It is dark. It has no hope for anything but the right now. And Jesus invites us to more than the right now, to a beautiful and eternal future. And He wants us to allow Him to make our lives on this earth easier. He wants to carry our burdens and He wants us to rest in Him. Life with Jesus is actually the easiest and best life because it is a life allowing Him to do the hard work. He wants to flood our lives with Light for the path, love for our broken hearts, and His strength for the hard things. I AM SO GLAD HE IS WHO HE SAYS HE IS!
"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light" (Matthew 11:28-30).