I’ve been wearing glasses for years now. Without them it’s quite a task to read. But I still haven’t gotten completely used to them. And they can be a hassle. Sometimes I catch myself attempting to scratch an itch around my eye and end up hitting my glasses instead. Sometimes I forget where I put down my glasses, and it can get quite frustrating just trying to find it so I can read. Many times I wish I did not have to deal with the inconvenience of having to wear glasses.
Then, while frying some longanisa one morning, the oil splatters. I feel the sting of hot oil on my face and see a globule of oil strike the lens right in front of my left eye. I couldn’t help but think: “If I were not wearing my glasses, that blob of hot oil could have gone straight into my eye.” Needless to say I was very thankful I was wearing my glasses that morning.
There are certain things that may not necessarily be according to our liking or from our preferred perspective may feel inconvenient, yet we need them to provide and protect the things that are truly essential for life. Just like my glasses—though inconvenient at times, they allow me to see better and they provide protection for my eyes.
The human tendency is to resist the idea of rules and laws because they are considered obstacles to the exercise of personal freedoms. We think that rules “cramp our style” and we prefer to do without them. And there are those who also think the same way with regard to the truths of Scripture and the commands of our Lord.
Indeed, from our fallen human perspective the ways of the Lord are often experienced as an inconvenience and a hindrance to our pursuit of earthly happiness. But the ways of the Lord provide the necessary guidance for us to see life clearly and protect us from the things that could hurt and destroy us. It’s about grace.
The psalmist was one who understood the value of God’s gracious guidance: “With your instruction, I understand life … By your words I can see where I’m going; they throw a beam of light on my dark path” (Psalm 119.104-105 The Message). “How can a young person maintain a pure life? By guarding it according to your instructions!” (Psalm 119.9 NET).
The loving Lord gives us his instructions for our good, an act of grace. We love the Lord back by “keeping his commandments, and his commandments are not burdensome” (1 John 5.3 NLT). And when properly obeyed, they will prove to be our joy and delight.
—Keith Y. Jainga