Have you ever come across that particular narrative before? We tend to stick to the larger events, the nice ones where God defeats a huge army or Jesus does an amazing miracle. This one stumps some of us with its Oriental methods of teaching. We Americans tend to favor a straightforward approach—and then complain because someone dared to correct us. But that is not my point today.
Notice the first part of the story. And a certain man of the sons of the prophets said to his fellow at the command of the LORD, “Strike me, please.” But the man refused to strike him. Then he said to him, “Because you have not obeyed the voice of the LORD, behold, as soon as you have gone from me, a lion shall strike you down.” And as soon as he had departed from him, a lion met him and struck him down. I can sympathize with that first young man, can't you? Who wants to strike a prophet of God, especially a fellow, and especially hard enough to wound him? But that is exactly what God meant for him to do, whether he wanted to do it or not, whether he thought it a good thing to do or not, whether he was "comfortable" with it or not. None of that matters when God tells you to do something.
And so we may find times in our lives when God expects us to do the hard things. Is it just too hard for you to discipline your adorable little children? Is it too difficult to forgive someone who committed a grievous sin, perhaps even a crime under our legal system, against you? Is it asking too much to remain unmarried when you have messed your life up so much that's it's too complicated to figure out who is the "innocent" party? Jesus said, "Some make themselves eunuchs for the kingdom's sake" (Matt 19:12), so evidently he thought that's what one ought to do if necessary, and he would have applied that "ought" to anything else we might define as "too difficult."
I have known several who have given up a whale of a lot more than I ever have. They are truly servants of the Master while some of us just play at it and complain about even the least little sacrifices. Our culture in general has lost that tough spirit of doing what has to be done, no matter how difficult it may be. "It's too hard," has become an excuse we actually think will matter when we come face to face with God.
The second man did exactly as the prophet told him to and saved his own life. Had he heard about the lion? I don't know; it doesn't say. But whether he had or not, YOU have. And when you think something is too difficult a thing for God to ask of you ever, be on the lookout. That lion may have already snatched your soul.
For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome (1John 5:3).