Hebrews 12: 9 – 11
The Psalmist once said, those who trust in the Lord are as secure as Mount Zion; they will not be defeated but will endure forever. Just as the mountains surround Jerusalem, so the Lord surrounds His people, both now and forever.
The writer had warned the suffering believers (Jews) not to forget the encouraging words from God about not making light and not giving up because forgetfulness causes a lot of unnecessary problems and despondencies. At times of trouble, if we do not understand that God has allowed the problems, challenges and pains as discipline that He sends to us for our good, we might not benefit from them as God proposes for us to. In other words, our reactions will not be right when our interpretation of what is happening is not right. As an example, Job’s three friends had wrong perspectives and spoke wrong words to him when he went through his time of discipline in the hands of God.
The writer did not focus on who and how the challenges came but that the people who were going through the challenges, should remain focused because it was God’s way of working to move them to the next phase of their lives. Not only were they to remain focused, but that they should remain upbeat and not give up by going back to Judaism. Prosperity has a way of making us feel self-satisfied and independent while our problems (no matter how painful they can be or become) often makes us more aware of our need for God.
The writer did not lead a prayer meeting or make them lose focus about the source of their problems as being the Devil or whomever we might want to associate these things to like we do in the Church today, rather emphasized on the fact that the focus should be down to DISCIPLINE FROM GOD because there are lessons to be learnt for progress especially as we walk down the trajectory according to God’s plan.
That anonymous writer said, “and what do I say? I say let the rains of disappointment come, if they water the plants of spiritual grace. Let the winds of adversity blow, if they serve to root more securely the trees that God has planted. I say, let the sun of prosperity be eclipsed, if that brings me closer to the true light of life. Welcome, sweet discipline, discipline designed for my joy, discipline designed to make me what God wants me to be.”
Discipline is one of God’s ways of NURTURING, SHIELDING and CORRECTING His children. One of the primary things we are assured of when we are disciplined is that we have a Father who is constantly at work protecting and keeping His children from the impending danger ahead of them. Our sicknesses, unsuccessful businesses and the many challenges we face may be God’s way of keeping us from something worse or helping us to understand the things we are supposed to come by or more so a way to getting our attention.
To drive home his point, the writer begins to compare the discipline we get from God to the many forms of discipline we receive from our parents. First and foremost, a good parent must not spoil their children but discipline them when they need to be. The other side of this is that they spoil the children when they do not discipline them. Solomon said, spare the rod and spoil the child. He also said, “Don’t fail to discipline your children. The rod of punishment won’t kill them. Physical discipline may well save them from death.” Finally, he said “a child that lacks discipline will end up bringing shame to the mother.”
In other words, if we love our children we will not withhold discipline when we have to. As long as they are under our care, we ought to protect, guide, guard and punish them, as we deem right.
The writer’s perspective is such that if we are this loving towards our children, how much more our heavenly Father whose love is pure and everlasting compared to that of our parents. We reverenced and respected our parents when they trained us and so we must respect and reverence God more when He disciplines us because He sees ahead of us.
According to this prolific writer, our parents would discipline us to the best of their knowledge, even though they may make mistakes. Their knowledge is limited and as such could not have been perfect; it’s limited to the knowledge and values they’ve acquired over the years but God, who knows the end even from the beginning knows what to do to NURTURE, SHIELD and CORRECT us in whatever form or way the discipline appears.
Having said all these, the question now is, are we allowed to pray against discipline because they can be burning and the pain, excruciating? The writer didn’t give that as an option because praying against suffering is praying against the Will of God. Jesus prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane that the cup be taken away but concluded that the passion is not about His own will but that the Will of God should be done. Guess what, drinking the cup of death was the Will of God, so He had to drink of it.
Apostle Paul said he besought God thrice about the thorn in his flesh and God told him that His grace was sufficient and that God needed the Apostle to be weak for His own strength to be perfected.
It is very obvious that people, even Christians are going through a great deal of problems today; some are suffering, for some their businesses are nothing to write home about, some have lost their marriages, some have lost their children, some are poor, some are waiting to get married, some have died, some have been diagnosed with a terminal disease, to mention a few. The writer made this clear when he said, “No discipline is enjoyable while it is happening—it’s painful! But afterward, there will be a peaceful harvest of right living for those who are trained in this way.”
Our focus should be on God and His purpose for our lives. We have been created for God, through God and in God for solely His purpose. It is always about what God wants for us and not about US and our desires and lusts. Like little children, we might not know the effect of the things we desire for ourselves, God will always have our back and all we have to do is trust Him to do what He has purposed about us.
“If you want to ruin your son, never let him know a hardship. When he is a child carry him in your arms, when he becomes a youth still dandle him, and when he becomes a man still dry nurse him, and you will succeed in producing an arrant fool. If you want to prevent his being made useful in the world, guard him from every kind of toil. Do not suffer him to struggle. Wipe the sweat from his dainty brow and say, “Dear child, thou shalt never have another task so arduous.” Pity him when he ought to be punished; supply all his wishes, avert all disappointments, prevent all troubles, and you will surely tutor him to be a reprobate and to break your heart. But put him where he must work, expose him to difficulties, purposely throw him into peril, and in this way you shall make him a man, and when he comes to do man’s work and to bear man’s trial, he shall be fit for either.” – Charles Haddon Spurgeon.
Keep it right here!