One of my very favorite human phrases is “swallowing a bitter bill.” This statement tells me that we “humans,” in spite of all our flawed dreams and motives, have deep within our psyche, a real bead on a universal truth.
These words are usually said to us when we need to step back, look into the mirror and admit with our whole heart and mind that there is indeed some unflattering truth about our behavior.
This “bitter pill” concept is a universal truth, because we can hear it said anywhere—in the workplace, the home, church, the AA meeting, etc., etc., etc.
While this principle is universally understood by the human intellect, it is not universally embraced by the human heart. But the way to God’s heaven is precisely through the process of uncomfortable self-discovery!
Many people wrongly use religion to cheer them up—at the first sign of any personal discomfort. (And ministers want to keep their membership numbers up.)
However, the most theologically blatant communication of this misguided condition is in a strange passage from the chapter Revelation in Holy Scripture. In Revelation 9:9-10, John is given a sacred book to eat by God’s angel! While it was in his mouth it tasted sweet as honey. But when it was swallowed, it turned his stomach sour.
John had swallowed a heavenly bitter pill! More importantly, he endured it!
The essential spiritual message contained in these two passages is that our first encounter with God, Divine Wisdom and Love is indeed a sweet experience—we are open to it. But when we begin to digest God’s tenets more intensely and get deeper into the nitty-gritty of self-examination, things can get a bit upsetting.
In fact, the Lord stopped discussing further details of the Second Coming, even with His disciples because “they could not bear these things now.” Hmmm? What is it that humans find so difficult to bear?
God doesn’t simply want us to worship him and hope for the best. God wants us to “go through the mill” of spiritual transformation!
Are you ready?