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“Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as sons. For what son is not disciplined by his father? ... Our fathers disciplined us for a little 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 12:7,10-11 (NIV)
I’ve been in physical therapy for the last couple months, and my journey with healing for my shoulder will not be over soon. I find myself having to be disciplined about stretching. The recommendation is to stretch every hour. As a person whose personality is very much “go with the flow,” I find this new rhythm difficult and a bit exhausting. Compared to a lot of things in life I wouldn’t call this “enduring hardship,” but it does remind me of the kind of discipline we encounter in our spiritual growth on our journey with Jesus.
First, we need to see enduring hardship or discipline for what lies farther down the road, and not the pain of this moment. That kind of foresight requires trust in the goodness of God, and that ultimately, discipline like this leads to fruitfulness.
Second, we have the opportunity to ask, “What kind of holiness or righteousness could be cultivated in me because of this trial?” God is transforming us into holy people. People who reveal who he is because we are like him (Heb 12:14). That requires shedding old things…and is often a painful process.
Lastly, peace follows this kind of discipline because it trains us in trust and in love. We leave these experiences not just knowing about God, but truly experiencing him.
May your own disciplines and hardship help you trust him more.
- Sara Thompson