"It is good for me that I was afflicted,
That I may learn Your statutes.
The law of Your mouth is better to me
Than thousands of gold and silverpieces."
"It is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God" Hebrews 10:31
Yesterday I was asked to look up the second passage you just read, today while reading Psalms God showed me that passage.
My cup from which I am drinking my coffee this morning says "The joy of the Lord is your strength." Nehemiah 8:10
Some may wonder if these passages are even of the same train of thought. I think God is saying they are.
Though in the physical sense the one from Hebrews can seem daunting. But, as God does, there's always more than what we see.
Think about that passage in terms of Spiritual growth. I have really bad memories of gym class, pick a year, I loathed it. Always picked last, everything we did was more comparable to torture to me than supposed exercise. I never looked forward to those times. It was terrifying to me.
When we grow, in most cases, it's gradual. In some people, that growth isn't gradual, it's quick and painful. In that sense, growth hurts.
We who are in Christ, experience growing in Christ. In a Spiritual sense, it can be terrifying, daunting, shocking and every other highly descriptive word you can use, when God takes us to and through times of growth. Now consider this my reader, everything you go through, whether or not you think you 'messed it up' is growing you. Jesus never once has been surprised when you turned left instead of right when He really had wanted you to turn right. The growth will still happen but might take longer.
There will be times of painful transition. My word, if I ever wrote down all the painful things that God has taken me through, I could relate to John's take on writing down all there was about Jesus.
Painful, terrible (at least to my perspective), terrifying things.
But go farther in the Scriptures. What else is said of the hands of God? Granted today this isn't nearly scratching the surface.
John 10:28-29 "and I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand."
But there's also the other, very real, connotation of that one from Hebrews.
People who have rejected Christ are indeed living in terror, in Hell.
Hell is a place of torment and pain. It is a place where people are indeed spiritually alive but without physical bodies. How can this be? Consider how seeing something horrifying really affects your soul. It's not just emotions, it's your soul that is affected.
Jesus Himself tells of the conditions there. The people there rejected God. They rejected Salvation through Jesus Christ. They chose instead to bear their punishment for sin. The full brunt of sin.
That's judgment from the hands of the living God.
Now here's something that perhaps you haven't connected. Until this moment I hadn't either. Read this again.
Luke 16:22-31 "Now the poor man died and was carried away by the angels to Abraham’s bosom; and the rich man also died and was buried. In Hades he lifted up his eyes, being in torment, and *saw Abraham far away and Lazarus in his bosom. And he cried out and said, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus so that he may dip the tip of his finger in water and cool off my tongue, for I am in agony in this flame.’ But Abraham said, ‘Child, remember that during your life you received your good things, and likewise Lazarus bad things; but now he is being comforted here, and you are in agony. And besides all this, between us and you there is a great chasm fixed, so that those who wish to come over from here to you will not be able, and that none may cross over from there to us.’ And he said, ‘Then I beg you, father, that you send him to my father’s house— for I have five brothers—in order that he may warn them, so that they will not also come to this place of torment.’ But Abraham *said, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets; let them hear them.’ But he said, ‘No, father Abraham, but if someone goes to them from the dead, they will repent!’ But he said to him, ‘If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be persuaded even if someone rises from the dead.’”
Read between the lines.
That level of pain and anguish. Multiply it times infinity. That's what Jesus experienced on the cross when all the sin of mankind was heaped upon Him. It takes my breath away. Wow. In the book of Romans it clearly says that the wages of sin is death. Unless cleansed by the blood of Jesus Christ, your sin remains on you. You will pay that price yourself. You just read what is in your future if you do not repent and turn to Jesus.
It is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God. Is it going to be terrifying to be in endless torment in Hell? Yes. Just telling it as the Bible says it.
Yet for the believer, it's the opposite but not what you think. It's not really terrifying in the sense of terrible. In many its getting past our fears to begin to live for Christ that scares us most. Being told to step out of the boat. Peter terrified? Wouldn't you be? The other 11 terrified that they would be told to do the same?
Fear is the choice weapon of Satan. Fear and terror. He will use it to diminish the effectiveness of a believer and use it to keep people from understanding Salvation.
If you are not saved, you also have every reason to be afraid. To be in terror. Judgement is coming for those who have rejected Christ. Salvation is but a choice away to receive what Jesus paid for. Ask for it from Jesus.
For the believer many growth spurts are indeed and inevitably painful but soon healing comes. But once past the fear of it we look back and wonder why we were so afraid. The truth of that passage in Hebrews is once we are no longer fearful we will see the comfort in the hands of the living God.