Many people right now are being asked by God to endure hardship. There are marriage problems, parenting issues, infertility heartaches, stress at work, addictions, loneliness, there’s financial problems, health issues –all around there is hardship.
Are you being asked by God to endure hardship right now? I hope this perspective helps:
Hardship isn’t punishment from God because He doesn’t love you. Hardship is discipline from God because He does love you.
I’m going to bypass the endless amount of parenting analogies that apply here.
At times, when my faith is weak, I choose to primarily focus on the hardship and how things are really tough and I cry out to God, I thought You were a good and loving God?! Why are you allowing this to happen to me?!? Check out these verses:
Don’t feel sorry for yourselves. Or have you forgotten how good parents treat children, and that God regards you as his children? My dear child, don’t shrug off God’s discipline, but don’t be crushed by it either. God is educating you; that’s why you must never drop out. (Hebrews 12:5-7)
God says, You have hardship BECAUSE I’m a good God. It’s discipline for you to become more like My Son Jesus, if you can endure humbly through it. This is an opportunity to grow your witness and add to your testimony. Rely on Me. There is purpose here.
The goodness of God is that He will use the sin/pain/trials of life to bring eventual, permanent good. Another reminder verse:
God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God. (Romans 8:28)
With the trial we are asked by God to embrace and grow in, instead of thanking God, instead of trusting God, we ask, Why God? Why them? Why me? Why now?
Let’s not forget that Jesus never used the word Christian. Jesus used the words follower and disciple.
In your hardship, will you still follow God? Or you could drop out.
The word disciple comes from the Latin root word discipline, meaning you can’t be a disciple without going through some discipline.
In your hardship, recognizing it’s not God punishing you, it’s God discipline, it’s God bringing love and purpose, will you still be His follower? Or you could drop out.
I am grateful God has allowed hardship and discipline to occur in my life. After hardship and discipline, I am more honest. I’m more hard-working. I’m more grateful. Because I hung onto God and saw His discipline as an act of love toward me.
We don’t automatically enter into this world with wisdom and theology and holiness. We grow up in this world with lots of folly and mess and sin. We choose to go toward death because we fall in love with rebellion. And because of grace and love and kindness, God is a Father who adopts us, makes us His, cleanses and frees us from our past, so that we can move toward true life and peace. After trusting and accepting Him, He will (not, He might. He will), in His perfect timing, allow trials in order to lovingly discipline us, hoping we hold onto Him and if so, become more like Him.
If you sit by an unbeliever at work, and you’re a believer, and both of you get fired, for YOU, it’s God disciplining you to trust Him more. I don’t know what it is for the unbeliever.
If a non-Christian gets cancer and you do as well, for YOU, it’s an opportunity to follow God more closely and not let go of Him. It will hone your character.
When hardship comes, we are asking the wrong question. When difficulty comes in our life, we’re asking, How can I change this? – whatever this is – a better marriage, better health, I want kids, I want to be married, I want more obedient kids, I want to pay the bills, I want to leave my addictions……….
We’re asking the wrong question if we’re primarily concerned with, How can I change this difficulty?
What I see from Hebrews chapter 12, is that we shouldn’t ask during our difficulties, How can I change this?
In every trial, we should be asking, How can this difficulty change me?
No matter how severe, how long, how devastating, how fatiguing the hardship is, for a healthy and biblical perspective, ask God, Lord, what discipline are you allowing me to have so this changes me for the better?
Maybe it’s not about you fixing your difficulties as much as it is about your difficulties fixing you.
If we can have the faith in God to stop complaining about our hardships and start being thankful for them, then we can have joy. We can praise Him no matter what. We can rejoice. We can sing. We can declare that we are His followers and we will follow toward Him through anything this world throws at us. We will never let go of Jesus. If Jesus left heaven and resisted temptation for 33 years and died the death you deserved, and if there are faithful Christians on the other side of the world being murdered for their faith, then how can you, even as exhausted as you may be, whine about your current hardship?
It’s an honor to suffer. Do you not trust what God is doing by allowing the pain to occur in your life? If we trust God is our afterlife, then we can trust Him with this temporary trial in this life. Do not drop out. Seek His will in the trial. He’s allowing it to happen for a reason. To change you.
Hardships often prepare ordinary people for an extraordinary destiny. – C.S. Lewis
Thanks for reading. You are loved.