Check out this passage from Hebrews 12 that is rockin' my Tuesday morning:
5 And have you forgotten the encouraging words God spoke to you as his children? He said,
“My child, don’t make light of the Lord’s discipline, and don’t give up when he corrects you. 6 For the Lord disciplines those he loves, and he punishes each one he accepts as his child.”
7 As you endure this divine discipline, remember that God is treating you as his own children. Who ever heard of a child who is never disciplined by its father? 8 If God doesn’t discipline you as he does all of his children, it means that you are illegitimate and are not really his children at all.
This passage has had a paradigm shift on my thinking this morning, totally transforming my thoughts on current hardships. The NIV translates verse 7 like this: "Endure hardship as discipline." So these seemingly annoying trials out of my control can better be viewed as training, instruction, character building lessons that God is using to shape me.
This makes all the difference in the way I approach them. Instead of feeling sorry for myself or moping around, I can chose to lean into these hardships. To embrace them, knowing they are a divine tool. When I am tempted to whine a prayer about how hard it is or how sad I feel or how unfair this seems, I can instead ask God, "Help me to learn ALL that you want to teach me. Help me to grasp this lesson. Refine away the impurities in me that are separating my heart from yours..."
Then the passage goes on to say this...
10But God’s discipline is always good for us, so that we might share in his holiness. 11 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.
Paul closes by saying this...and I LOVE this:
12 So take a new grip with your tired hands and strengthen your weak knees. 13 Mark out a straight path for your feet so that those who are weak and lame will not fall but become strong.
All of this hardship, all of this training - this 'discipline' so that in the areas that we are weak, we will be made strong, so that we will not fall!
Whatever hardship you are facing this morning, take a new grip with your tired hands and strengthen your weak knees. God is using this difficulty to train you, to make you strong, and His discipline is always good for us. Not fun at the time, but good for us, and will bring about peace and right living.