“because the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and he chastens everyone he accepts as his son.” (Heb 12:6 NIV)
Each Christian is enlisted in God’s training program. God disciplines us for our good, in order that we may share in His holiness. Out of His love, God chastens us as parents discipline children for their own good. God has His purpose in chastising us. Therefore, we ought to endure hardship and suffering as discipline.
Sin can entangle us. The weights of this world such as ambitions, anxieties, or pleasures can distract us on our journey of faith. We could be so preoccupied with our careers, education, relationships, or pleasures that we do not have the time nor the energy to think about the things of God and our faith. We may unconsciously take our faith lightly and stray away from our path. When we have become sluggish in our spiritual journey, we must find and remove the cause so that we can be healed of our spiritual illness. Otherwise, a divine wakeup call may be needed.
Trials in life help us develop God’s righteous character. When become discouraged, we need to correct our attitude and see the divine purpose. Once we have been trained by our chastening, we will take our sufferings with the right attitude, without grumblings against God or complaints against others.
“Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.” (Ps 23:4) – That is Discipline. The rod is used for discipline. It can also be used to resist the enemy and to guide and protect. Suffering can shorten our distance from God. Suffering can make us feel more of God’s presence. Thus, discipline can be our comfort, because the rod of discipline is the evidence of God’s love, in order that we may share in His holiness.
It is good for a man to bear the yoke in his youth (Lam 3:27). A person needs more discipline while he is young than in his mature years. Therefore, it is good for man to suffer in his youth that he may learn to exercise himself in patient waiting upon the Lord and being strengthened. God will train us like an eagle teaches her young to fly by pushing them out of the nest so that they may try their wings. We need to trust His guidance and hold fast to our faith in Jesus Christ in the midst of trials and suffering.