Hebrews 12:7 contains a difficult teaching for me: “Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as sons.”
This comes in the context of persecution (see 12:3-4), which is pain that results from personal faithfulness, not personal sin. It’s easy to face the consequences of my sins as discipline. In fact, sometimes I make these consequences into badges of honor and delude myself into thinking I’ve paid for my mistake.
What’s difficult is considering ALL hardship as discipline from God. It makes me think, “HEY, WAIT A SECOND, THAT’S NOT FAIR!!!”
There are two comforting conclusions that I hang onto when I consider hardship as discipline. 1. The purpose of discipline is to teach, so I ought to look at every hardship as an opportunity to learn something. 2. God is bigger than the hardship I’m facing, and he’ll use it to do something good in my life, he’ll use it to draw me into deeper dependence on him.
Having this perspective gives me a bigger view of my hardships. It makes some of them seem silly; and by this I mean it shows me to be silly. For the next few weeks, I’m going to finish each day by asking myself: what was hard today and how is God using it to discipline me?