Hitting the Mark
Suffering for the Gospel – Part 7
Scripture Reading: Hebrews 12:7-11
Key Verse: Hebrews 12:10
For our earthly fathers disciplined us for a few years, doing the best they knew how. But God’s discipline is always good for us, so that we might share in his holiness.
The author of Hebrews makes a statement that I think is an understatement: “no discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it” (Hebrews 12:11). We can all say a hearty “amen” to that statement; we don’t like suffering and hardship. It is not wrong to pray that God would relieve us of our pain and grant us comfort. However, we must conclude that prayer with the way Jesus concluded His prayer in Gethsemane, “but not my will but your will be done.”
Maybe you pray, like I do, for God to make me a good person, one that He can use in this world for His purposes. Surely, we’ve all prayed that God will help us to overcome some temptation that keeps tripping us up. God hears those prayers and is anxious to help us. Hebrews 12:11 ends with the phrase: “those who have been trained by it.” When we pray for God’s help in overcoming our failures and transgressions, He answers by putting us into His training program!
Remember, during your suffering, that God doesn’t send hardship our way but uses the hardships that come our way. Hardship comes into all lives, saints and sinners. No one is exempt from the hardships and pain of living in this broken world. God does protect us from some of these hardships, as we walk with Him; praise Him for that. However, God “opens the gate” to allow some hardships to come our way, using them as discipline to make us into the people that He desires, and we will like! As we praise Him, even in our suffering, we grow into mature Christ followers. That is why Paul wrote, “I rejoice in my suffering” (Romans 5:3).
Father, I will praise you, even when life hurts. In Jesus’ Name, amen.