From the Desk of the Pastor
May. 6, 2014
Seeing God’s Perspective in Suffering
This past month has been difficult for me to say the least. What started out as pain in my calf and
knee in my left leg was diagnosed as multiple blood clots. One day later I was in an emergency
room where I was diagnosed with pneumonia. Three days later I was back in the emergency
room where I was diagnosed with extreme dehydration and renal failure. After spending several
days in the hospital, I was released where I would spend the next few weeks slowly recuperating.
The past thirty days have been filled with painful, sleepless nights, many questions, and a great
deal of time to reflect.
What do we do in times of pain and suffering? The first thing I want you to understand is that
God always has a purpose in these times. As I reflected and allowed God to speak to me I
realized how foolish I had been. My schedule leading up to my illness had gotten out of control. I
was spreading myself too thin. The biggest issue was I could not say no because I did not want to
disappoint anyone. I was taking on responsibilities that should have been given to someone else.
Instead of letting God dictate my schedule and what I did, I allowed my ego and need to please
everyone pull me away from the Father’s will for my life.
As I came across Hebrews 12:3-11, the Lord reaffirmed some lessons He was impressing upon
me during this trial. Hebrews was written to Christians who were being persecuted for their faith.
Many would lose their lives under this Roman persecution. Those young Christians could be
tempted to abandon their faith and return to their old way of living.
In vv. 3-4, the writer of Hebrews exhorted those believers to consider Christ-the Christian’s hope
and greatest example of who willingly obeyed God in the midst of suffering.
Verses 5-8 use the Greek noun rendered “son” or “sons.” This word denotes a grown son who is
an heir. The Lord disciplines those He loves: His children. In vv. 5-6, the writer quotes Proverbs
3:11-12 to remind weary souls that God is not simply watching them, He is training them. Like
a good father, God matures and prepares the believer for service (see Job 5:17).
In vv.7-8 the writer of Hebrews underscores a very important point: a lack of suffering in this
life is not a sign of favor but of illegitimacy. God does not allow His children to go about their
business unchanged. Like a good parent, He disciplines His sons and daughters because He loves
Versus 9-10 contains a “lesser” to “greater” argument: if caring human fathers deserve our
respect and obedience, how much more the all-loving heavenly Father? Because our heavenly
Father makes no mistakes, and knows far more about what His children need to grow and
learn than earthly Fathers, we can submit to His loving discipline with full confidence that it
will produce the fruit of righteousness (see Ps. 119:67; 1Cor. 11:32).
Finally, in verses 11-13, the writer gives us one final application for our lives: circumstances
should not get the best of the believer. Instead, Christians endure, get a second wind, and
compete in the race.
Those who have passed through the training, discipline, and correction of the Lord know it
is painful, but not permanent. Believers who endure pain and suffering know God and His
faithfulness in ways others cannot (see Isa. 32:17; Matt. 5:1-12).
My encouragement to you is if you are going through pain and suffering, take heart. God is using
this to mold and shape you for His future plans. Though it may be painful now, know it is not
permanent. There are brighter days ahead of you! The best is yet to come!
Serving Christ, Loving Others, & Growing Together,