It is a touchy subject, but we must talk about suffering that results from the Lord’s discipline. Hebrews 12:7-11 clearly describes what we go through when we are under the disciplinary hand of the Lord. “For the moment all discipline seems painful, rather than pleasant.” If we are honest with ourselves, we rarely associate hard times with the Lord’s discipline because we really don’t think He is that intimately involved in our lives and ministries. We more often say ‘the enemy is attacking me’ or ‘why is this happening to me – I don’t deserve this.’ Those reasons may be true, but we must be careful not to let excuses blind us from God working in us something greater for His glory and a more powerful ministry.
There is a better way of looking at suffering and difficulties that are the result of discipline. God “disciplines us for our good, that we may share His holiness” (12:10). Of course suffering and discipline is painful! But going through times like this with the attitude that we want to gain from them will deepen our faith and perfect our ability to reflect His holiness. The gain is “the peaceful fruit of righteousness” if we are “trained by it” (12:11).
The next time you are going through suffering, ask the question; ‘what is God teaching me through this?’ As I lay in a hospital bed in a foreign country thousands of miles from home, the Lord was teaching me some valuable lessons I hope will never be forgotten.
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