The Difficulty of Obedience

Photo by Josh Hild on Unsplash

But all the things that God would have us do are hard for us to do — remember that — and hence, he oftener commands us than endeavors to persuade. And if we obey God, we must disobey ourselves; and it is in this disobeying ourselves, wherein the hardness of obeying God consists.
~Moby Dick, Herman Melville

The first time I read Moby Dick, it was to get a baked potato.

That sounds like a joke. I assure you, dear reader, it is no joke. When I was in fifth grade, we had a challenge to see who could read the longest book. As I scanned the school library, one book stood out to me merely because of the size of the binding. That’s the one I picked. It was Moby Dick, the classic seafaring tale of obsession.

Looking back, that’s probably a metaphor. I wanted to win so badly that I based my book read on the largest book I could find. And I read it. It took a while to get through it. I feel like it was the 450–500 page range… for a fifth grader. All so I could get a baked potato for lunch one day in the school cafeteria. I do love baked potatoes.

A year or two ago, I decided to start reading it again. This time, it was for my daughter at bedtime. And, let me tell you, it’s insanely boring… at least the beginning of it is. Melville is very detailed in describing the events as the narrator sees them. I actually gave up on reading it after a while this time. However, not before I came across this gem of a quote. Looks like Melville had a little theology mixed into this tale of adventure and woe.

We often have conversations with our kids about doing hard things. We encourage them. We tell them that they can do hard things, and, at the very least, they can try to do hard things. The same is true for each one of us.

We all have challenges to face and mountains to climb (metaphorically, unless you are an avid outdoors enthusiast). And they can be met. It’s not always easy. We may fail every once in a while. But we can do it.

One of the hardest things to do in our walk of faith is staying obedient to God’s call in our lives. Part of the difficulty is that we aren’t always clear as to what exactly that is. But the biggest part of that difficulty is that perhaps God is calling us to do something we would rather not do.

God’s call in our lives is not always a call to ease and comfort. It will be challenging, but it can be done. As long as we are will to be obedient to that call. I’ve heard it said (and have said myself): God doesn’t call the equipped; God equips the called.

If what looms ahead for you seems to difficult, keep pushing forward. If God called you to it, God will see you through it.



Just some guy who is looking to make my pocket of the world a better place. Life is a journey; let’s walk together and help each other along the way.

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