No need to explain

Hebrew 12:3-11

The trials we face seem to trip us up in, at least, two ways.

Some of us blame God too much for what we go through. As if everything that happens to us must have a divine agenda. Both joy and pain fill our lives. Instead of simply recognizing that, we assume our hardships are God’s doing. Others go a different direction. They presume God has nothing to say about what trials happen to us. By their estimation, God has much more pressing matters to tend to.

Surely there is a happy medium, right? A place that doesn’t need to trace all suffering to God? That doesn’t portray the Lord as a cold and distant authority figure?

The story of scripture is that God wants fellowship with us. That’s the answer to a basic question that comes out of Genesis. Why did God create the cosmos, our world and us? The Lord didn’t need us. But wanted to know us and for us to know God. That’s part of the goodness of God. As such, the Almighty doesn’t desert us when we need love the most. And the Good Shepherd gives good things to us (Matthew 7:11), not turmoil and strife.

All that helps us realize we need to rethink the trials we go through.

Mainly, we need to put into perspective what we endure for the sake of the cross. That is how the writer of Hebrews frames our trials. With that in mind, the encouragement from Hebrews is to “endure trials for the sake of discipline” (Hebrews 12:7). At the heart of discipleship, of course, is discipline. That’s the regimen of holiness. We practice what we learn. And we keep practicing and keep learning to become more like our Lord.

Hebrews wants us to also rethink discipline. Here discipline is not punishment or spite. It is God’s molding of our heart and character. It’s what we learn from what we experience.

Did God bring this trial to you? We can’t automatically assume so. Does a loving parent create trying times for their child to endure? No, they teach her to walk with strength through them. And that’s what Hebrews wants us to learn. What there is to discover about ourselves, our faith and even God through our trials. Even more, what strength and even holiness do we learn when we overcome?

By no means does this trivialize what we go through. It doesn’t even help us explain what we go through. That’s okay. We aren’t encouraged to figure out how to explain everything. The encouragement is for us to endure.

Stay blessed…john

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John Fletcher

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