Grace For Your Day May 22

In his book on suffering, Randy Alcorn tells the story of the first physician who died of AIDS in the United Kingdom. The symptoms of the illness made him so feeble that he lost the ability to speak towards the end of his life and could only write a few things on a tablet. In his final hours, he kept scribbling the letter “J” which confused his wife until she asked him “Are you saying ‘Jesus?’”

The physician nodded his head because Jesus filled his thoughts as he was passing away. He had his mind completely fixed on the Lord as he approached his final moments which is what the Bible tells us to do when we suffer as well. Hebrews 12:5-11 says:

You have forgotten the exhortation which is addressed to you as sons,

“My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord,
Nor faint when you are reproved by Him;
For those whom the Lord loves He disciplines,
And He scourges every son whom He receives.”

It is for discipline that you endure; God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom his father does not discipline? But if you are without discipline, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate children and not sons. Furthermore, we had earthly fathers to discipline us, and we respected them; shall we not much rather be subject to the Father of spirits, and live? For they disciplined us for a short time as seemed best to them, but He disciplines us for our good, so that we may share His holiness.

All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness.

The author of this letter says that we need to keep our eyes fixed on the Lord when we suffer because it reminds us of the purpose of our trials and that is to discipline us. The Lord is using our pain to help us, not hurt us because we are His children.

Pain is never pleasant. When someone is diagnosed with an incurable disease, it can be a miserable thing to experience. However, it helps us when we recall why the Lord allows it to occur in the first place and that is so it will “yield the peaceful fruit of righteousness” in our lives. In other words, He is permitting these things in order to sanctify us as Christians.

In fact, theologians state that there are three main purposes of God’s discipline in the Bible for believers:

  1. Punishment – the Lord allows trials so we can reap what we have sown and suffer the temporary consequences of our sin (not the eternal consequences because those have already been paid for at the cross).
  2. Prevention – the Lord allows trials in order to prevent a future sin from occurring.
  3. Education – the Lord allows trials in order to teach us something.

All three forms seem to be implied in this passage because the writer says that, no matter which form of discipline it is, it is always given to us “for our good” which is what we are going to talk about this week at Grace Fellowship Church.

This Sunday, we are going to study the discipline of God because it may be one of the most difficult subjects in the Bible. Nothing raises more questions than the issue of pain and trials because it causes us to wonder: Why? If God loves me, why doesn’t He stop my suffering? The answer is because “God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom his father does not discipline?”

In other words, the pain that we experience is not random. Trials come into our lives in order to build up our spiritual muscles so we can do more for Christ in the future. Just like an athlete has to be trained up in order to run further in a race, so we have to be trained up through hardship so we can bring more glory to God.

Please join us as we talk about that in our time together. The service begins on Sunday morning at 9:30.

– Jeremy Cagle