This morning I turned to Heb 12 for some parenting guidance, and God unloaded some new thoughts on me...Have you ever wandered how does God discipline you? Does he? If he does discpline you, what does it look like when he's doing it? Blessings are easy to spot, but discipline, when does it happen? This passage says endure hardship as discipline. Does God allow the hardship into my life (not cause it, allow it) for my discipline? That is what verse 7 said, I know, I've reread it and reread it this morning. I have always interpreted this passage unconsciously intertwining two words: discipline and punishment. Discipline is not punishment. Punishment is a penalty inflicted for an offense. Discipline is training with purpose. Hardship is painful. Is hardship a vessel God uses for my discipline? That is what verse 7 says. It puts hard times in a new perspective for me.
What is your hardship right now? Hard marriage, attack from Satan, infertility, tough kids, single parenting, loneliness, physical pain, death of a loved one...
This will change the way I can pray for my friend who has severe nerve pain right now, my friend who just lost a sister and who has a dad with cancer, my physical pain I've had for the last 3 months...it gives me new hope and new words to pray over the tough times-with words like enable us to endure, enable us to run with perseverance the race marked out for us, help us to not grow weary, to not loose heart, to believe you are perfecting our faith through every hardship, teach us to believe you when you say you will produce a harvest of righteousness and peace because we endured, did not give up, and allowed you to train us through the hard times. Why did I never see that God tells us to endure hardship as discipline? Before today, I don't think I could ever come up with an answer on how I thought he disciplined me.
Therefore, strengthen your feeble arms and weak knees. Make level paths for your feet. (Prov 4:23) There is level ground at the foot of the cross.
"No man or company of men, no power in earth or heaven, can touch that soul which is abiding in Christ, without first passing through His encircling presence and receiving the seal of His permission...Nothing can disturb or harm us, except He shall see that it is best for us and shall stand aside to let it pass." Hannah Whitall Smith