Hardship Is Opportunity

"Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as his children. For what children are not disciplined by their father? If you are not disciplined—and everyone undergoes discipline—then you are not legitimate, not true sons and daughters at all... 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 12:6-8, 11 (NIV)

At first, you may think, “Discipline doesn’t sound good.” And you would be right. I mean, who enjoys discipline. I can’t remember one time when my parents or teachers said, “Okay, now I’m going to have to discipline you,” and I cheered.

Our nature is to run from discipline, not embrace it.

Jesus, through the author of Hebrews, wants us to see pain and hurt as an opportunity. He wants us to see it as an opportunity to grow in our trust in Him. Jesus, doesn’t want us to grumble or complain about it, but to embrace it. To receive it as discipline from a loving and heavenly father who has an end goal in mind. And that end goal is becoming more like Jesus.

No matter who is at fault for the pain and hurt you we may undergo (your fallenness, someone else's fallenness, or just the circumstances of a fallen world), the ability to come out becoming better instead of bitter is still the same - treat hardship as discipline from a loving and wise parent.

Name your pain… What have you experienced or are presently experiencing? No matter the cause or circumstance, here’s how Jesus would like you to deal with it. Instead of trying to eliminate it, avoid it, drown it out, or medicate it, what if you embraced it? What if you let it draw you closer to Jesus instead of away from Him? What if it wasn’t an excuse to go back to old patterns and habits, but an opportunity for Jesus to make you more like Him, with new patterns and habits for living His way?

You see, when we approach the pain of this world “as” discipline and allow God to train us by it, righteousness (becoming like Jesus - growth) and peace will become a reality in our lives. Here is a truth: If we don't allow the pain and trouble in life train us, by surrendering ourselves with our pain and hurts to Jesus, they will drain us. We will find ourselves hurt, angry and bitter. Instead, Jesus wants us joyful, peaceful and full of life.

Prayer: Lord Jesus, thank you for helping me to see that the struggles of this life are really another opportunity for me to grow deeper in my faith in you. Help me to run to you instead of from you in those moments. Thank you for always hearing and answering my prayers according to Your will. Amen!

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