From Jenny Sue Got Married, originally posted on August 1, 2011.
I often refer to this Scripture when faced with challenges: "Endure
hardship as discipline; God is treating you as sons. For what son is
not disciplined by his father? If you are not disciplined (and everyone
undergoes discipline), then you are illegitimate children and not true
sons. Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we
respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of
our spirits and live! Our fathers disciplined us for a while as they
thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in
his holiness. No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful.
Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for
those who have been trained by it." Hebrews 12:7-11.
Believe it or not, people have disagreed with me about
the application of this Scripture. (How can you argue with Scripture?)
But I don't believe that the word discipline here means "punishment".
Because then it would seem as if God were punishing us for our mistakes,
but God is not in the business of punishment since he sent Jesus to
take our punishment for us on the Cross. Obviously, there are still
natural consequences for our sins, but I do not believe that God
inflicts suffering upon us in order to punish. I DO believe, however,
that He allows difficulty, hardship, challenges - even a stroke - to
happen so that we will be disciplined, i.e. formed and trained, in
holiness & trust in God.
difficult times, we often run to the Lord and cry and beg and plead to
be removed from our situation. But God wants to get us to the place
where we are ready to let Him do His work in us. He wants us to cling to
Him like never before and to accept the "discipline" He has for us; in
other words, the training of our hearts. He wants to train our hearts to
have greater trust, greater faith, greater love, and a deeper
relationship with Him. He's not all about giving in to our whining and
pleading just to get us to stop. He has a deeper purpose in letting us
go through hardship. If we never had to cling to Him for dear life, we
wouldn't develop the kind of relationship that He wants us to have with
As I mentioned, I've read this particular passage many
times before, but just recently as I shared the passage with my
husband, for his encouragement, I read just a little bit further: "Therefore,
strengthen your feeble arms and weak knees. Make level paths for your
feet, so that the lame may not be disabled, but rather healed." (vs. 12-13)
Whoa. How well does that apply to my disabled husband?
To strengthen his feeble arms and weak knees? So that he may NOT be
disabled, but rather healed???
As a friend of mine once said, "Lean into death" (She
was talking about dying to ourselves and our own will, and surrendering
to God's will.) It is much easier to cooperate with God during hard
times than to fight Him to try to get your own way. He will have His way
anyway, and if we cooperate, we will be strengthened and healed.