We all go through hardships in life. Some of them we bring upon ourselves, and some seem to have no rhyme or reason. Have you ever been going through something and found yourself asking, “Why me?”

Hebrews 12:7 gives us this encouragement:

Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as his children. For what children are not disciplined by their father?

Hebrews 12:7 (NIV)

The writer then continues this line of reasoning with the following.

If you are not disciplined—and everyone undergoes discipline—then you are not legitimate, not true sons and daughters at all. Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of spirits and live! They disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, in order that we may share in his holiness. No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it (emphasis added).

Hebrews 12:8-11 (NIV)

Most of us should be familiar with being disciplined. When I was a child, I was punished when I did something wrong. This is how we see discipline; as punishment for doing something wrong. Merriam-Webster provides the following definitions for discipline.

  1. a: control gained by enforcing obedience or order
    b: orderly or prescribed conduct or pattern of behavior
    c: SELF-CONTROL
  2. PUNISHMENT
  3. training that corrects, molds, or perfects the mental faculties or moral character
  4. a field of study
  5. a rule or system of rules governing conduct or activity
  6. obsolete: INSTRUCTION

Only one of these definitions covers punishment. However, it’s what I usually think of when I think of discipline. It’s the heart of the cry, “Why me?” when what we’re asking is more like, “What have I done wrong to deserve this?”

In verse 10 of Hebrews 12, the writer points out the difference between earthly and divine discipline.

They disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, in order that we may share in his holiness.

Hebrews 12:10 (NIV)

The discipline we received as children came from a different mindset and motive than God’s. One problem with parental discipline is that it’s not consistent. Parents sometimes believe their children can do whatever they want if they aren’t bothering them. Other times, discipline may only rear its head when it’s convenient. The parents are in a good mood, so they let things slide. If they are in a bad mood, they don’t. Of course, I’m referring to discipline as punishment in these cases.

In other cases, such as when to practice the piano, work on homework, etc., the discipline deals with training, order, and such. When we had things we had to do, like cleaning the house, we might have been punished if we didn’t do it. Two forms of discipline that we saw only as one. Punishment. Hence, a possible misunderstanding of what it means to be disciplined by God.

Before I continue about God’s discipline, let’s consider what we do and don’t deserve. In Hebrews 12:1-2, we are encouraged to “run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God” (NIV). Jesus was a man without sin. Yet, He suffered through the punishment on the cross for our sins. Because of Jesus’ sacrifice, everyone who calls upon his name will be saved from the agony of eternal punishment. Each of us deserves to pay for our sins ourselves. However, Jesus atoned for our sin. What do we really deserve then?

God sees beyond this temporal space and into eternity. His desire is for us to be with him. Therefore, we will suffer if it takes suffering to lean more on God. Fortunately, God is more gracious and merciful than us.

I believe God will draw us to him as easily as we come. Some people hear the Gospel and embrace it, turning to God and are saved. Others don’t. I’m reminded of the Parable of The Sower, which you can read about here. Before I was saved, I attended church repeatedly to please my wife. Over five years, I had heard the Gospel preached and never responded to it. However, when disaster loomed in my life, the Lord opened my heart to receive Him.

As Believers, we must remember that being saved doesn’t keep hardships and trials away from us. On the contrary, we will go through hardships and trials. We will suffer. Sometimes our suffering is for us; sometimes, like Jesus, it’s not. What does James tell us?

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

James 1:2-4 (NIV)

Do you know God? God knows you, and he loves you. He sees you as significant because you are. No one is insignificant to Him. He’s with you today, and he wants you to know him. Jesus died for your sins and mine so we could be free of guilt, freed from death, and live eternally with him. Eternal salvation is just a prayer away.

Pray this prayer with me to accept the gift of salvation:

Lord Jesus, forgive me for all my sins. I repent from my ways. Wash me in your blood and cleanse me from all unrighteousness. I believe that you died on the cross, were buried, and on the third day, God the Father raised you from the dead. Right now, Lord Jesus, I open the door to my heart and receive you into my heart as my Lord and personal Savior. Amen.

If you prayed that prayer, then congratulations! You are on the first step of a brand new life. Allow me to be the first to welcome you to my family, the family of God. There are abundant resources available online for new Christians. You can visit here for more information on what to do next. You can also leave me a comment, and I’ll do my best to help you on the next step of this incredible journey.