Read Hebrews 12:7-13
7 Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as his children. For what children are not disciplined by their father? 8 If you are not disciplined-and everyone undergoes discipline-then you are not legitimate,not true sons and daughters at all. 9 Moreover,we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of spirits and live! 10 They disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good,in order that we may share in his holiness. 11 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.
12 Therefore,strengthen your feeble arms and weak knees. 13 “Make level paths for your feet,” so that the lame may not be disabled,but rather healed. (NIV)
If a psychopathic maniac approached you with a knife in hand you would be naturally worried. He means to do damage to you and you would try to get away quickly. Then again,if you are lying in a hospital bed awaiting an operation that will make your life better,you will accept the surgeon who also wields a knife. You won’t flee from him or her because the surgeon’s knife is meant to heal-even if it does cause hurt along the way.
We must never imagine God to be a cosmic sadist who delights in inflicting pain on his people in order to make them more holy. He is,as our text reminds us,more like a loving parent who only has the child’s interests at heart. Children sometimes endure hardships that are allowed by the parents because the parents figure it is best for the child.
The child may resent not being allowed to do this or that; may not welcome the medical treatment that will improve their health; may not welcome words of rebuke. But all are designed to help the child grow if the parent is in any way caring of the child.
Sometimes we resent what is happening to us. Why is God allowing it? Doesn’t he know it hurts? Our text offers no easy answer but it does remind us that our hurts and hardships can be used by him to get healthier. Assuming we allow ourselves to be ‘trained by it’. We may long to get out of such a classroom,but it seems our lessons are not entirely learned this side of heaven.