Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as his children. For what children are not disciplined by their father? …God disciplines us for our good, in order 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, 10-11
As a loving Father, God is not content to let us remain where we are, or go without His direction. What earthly father would we call loving who never directed his child through discipline? Sadly, our culture has done much of precisely that, and this discipline-less “love” encourages wandering and dabbling in death.
But God is no such Father: He disciplines the ones He loves, and He does so for our good.
Now, here’s the thought this morning:God will certainly discipline His children. And that discipline will surely be painful (“No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful.”). Thus, we can conclude that by becoming a child of God we are ensuring that we will experience pain from the Father’s hand.
Let me say that again, because it is so contrary to our typical expectations of how God lives in relationship with us: God will certainly do things that will hurt you. He will do so intentionally. He will do so often. He will do so lovingly. In love, God will do what hurts us.
Why? In order to produce good things in us; in order that we might share in the deep nourishing holiness that is His; in order that we may learn peace as abiding and abundant as a river.
I think about the Apostle Paul, who had learned the secret to being at peace no matter the circumstance: whether well fed or hungry, in plenty or in want, in danger or safety. Friend, this means that Paul had to be put in those circumstances enough times to learn to have peace in them! God put Paul in danger until Paul learned contentment in danger. God made Paul hungry until Paul learned to be at peace without a full belly. And then, when Paul had learned peace, danger and hunger did not diminish it.
You see, in God’s great mercy, He attacks those things in which we find peace apart from Himself. Those things on which we lay our hopes and satisfaction that are outside Him, He will – in mercy – utterly destroy. He is merciless in reducing them to rubble in order that we might find peace in the only true and unchanging source: Himself! That is mercy! That is abundant grace!
Every other source of peace and contentment is like a stream that seems cool and satisfying to drink from and bathe in, but turns out to be only a muddy and bitter trickle which dries up. But the streams of living water flowing from the fountain of life beneath the throne of God Himself? Clear, bright, never ending or abating, glorious, and satisfying!
If you are not at peace, then praise the one who has taken your peace in muddy waters from you. Know that it is His call to drink from a brighter stream. If you are in pain, then praise the one who has taken your support and let you fall. Know that it is His call to seat yourself on the immovable mountain range of His glorious person. If you find your heart aching and frantic, then praise the one who has reduced your hopes to rubble. Know that it is His call to ground your hope on that which will stand forever: the Lord Jesus Christ in glory.
He disciplines us for our good. He trains us to find peace in Him alone. He removes all lesser supports, that we may stand on Him, and share in His unchanging goodness.
My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness.
I dare not trust the sweetest frame of mind, but wholly lean on Jesus’ name.
On Christ the solid rock I stand! All other ground is sinking sand!
Endure hardship as discipline. God is treating you as His children.