In one way I feel particularly Jewish. It can be characterized with one word: “Exodus”. There are plenty of paths available for the person desiring an escape, some of them good, some of them not good, but there is none (I believe) as effective and natural to the human person as the exodus that God, in fact, instigates. With what means does God bring about this Exodus? Primarily suffering. It’s that uncomfortable concept and reality that people shun, or quarantine within somewhat sentimental language. I had a childhood friend who admitted openly she liked having God in a closet. She didn’t actually want to do away with Him altogether, because there was something “nice” (or in the untranslatable Swedish word “fint”) about Him—as a reason for things like Christmas pageants, etc. But she didn’t want Him to interfere with her life. Then He fit better in a closet. Why was that? That’s obviously something of her life. Still, perhaps she expressed something of what most people experience: if given free hands, God breaks up the comfortable and established life. I don’t think He accomplishes this by violence. Instead, He is the Light, the Truth, and the Way, and He uses ways universally effective.
I’ve noticed that stubborn children (I have four of them), set on their own plans, will be quite willing to rethink and re-plan if they are presented with two options, such as, “would you like the pink spoon or the green one?” The wish to dump out dinner on the table vanishes from their mind at the introduction of the choice between two options. It’s a marvelous conflict resolution!
I wonder if we are not in the same position with our Savior. We are set on damnation. “I want it.” BASTA. Then God gives us two choices: will you follow me this way, or that way? And then we are happy to follow Him, and forget damnation!
That’s the happy scenario.
Jesus leads us on our Exodus not in order to take us away from what is familiar, natural, and good. Nor is He pulling out those tough, stubborn roots in order to confuse us. He is simply leading us on the road of freedom, which inevitably leads to Himself. Dumping out dinner on the table will not accomplish anything, but following Jesus will.