By Martin Morrison
It is one thing to understand the brokenness of our world post the fall in Genesis 3. It is quite another thing to understand the fall when it affects me personally and painfully.
Even mature Christians who have journeyed a long way with the Lord, sometimes stumble when they face hardship. We either wonder whether it is a sign of God’s anger with us. Alternatively, we wonder whether God has forgotten us. Both perspectives are wrong.
Firstly, those who are in Christ will NEVER, NEVER know the wrath of God. Because of the substitutionary death of Christ on our behalf, “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus”. Romans 8:1. Christ has quenched the wrath of God when He died on the cross and cried, “It is finished”. The cup of God’s wrath we so richly deserve has been drunk to its last drop by God’s Son on our behalf. So if you are in Christ, you will never ever taste God’s wrath. Christ finished the entire cup. Extraordinary!!
Secondly, God only disciplines His beloved children. “Have you forgotten the exhortation that addresses you as sons: My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord. For the Lord disciplines the one he loves and chastises every son whom he receives” Hebrews 12:5-6.
There is an argument from the lesser to the greater in this great passage. If our parents disciplined us for our earthly good, how much more will our heavenly Father discipline us for our heavenly good. Some of us endured the discipline and pain of a great sports coach. The result was an earthly sporting trophy. Should we not then understand that our heavenly Father disciplines us in love, in order that we may receive a heavenly trophy.
We often miss out on the key phrase in the entire passage. “For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it”. Hebrew 12: 11.
If we grimly decide to merely get through this time of pain without losing our cool or faith, we have missed the whole point. The point being that we need to see this time of hardship as God’s training ground to make us grow in holiness, to make us more like Jesus.
Now that I understand God’s purpose in my pain, I pray, “Oh Lord, forgive my unbelief. Forgive me for not seeing your loving hand behind this painful training session. Forgive me for desiring more my happiness than my holiness. Thank you for loving me so much that you have taken the trouble to discipline and train me for eternity”.