It’s such a popular question. We face a struggle or a time of suffering, and we feel as if we could handle it so much better if we could only know why we are dealing with the pain.
I think our problem lies in the fact that we want a specific answer to our "Why" question. We want to know exactly how our suffering is going to work out for our own good, or even for someone else’s. We want a clear picture of how it will glorify the Lord. What if, in reality, it is often much more generic than that?
Take a look at this passage from Hebrews.
You have not yet resisted to the point of shedding blood in your striving against sin; and 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. Hebrews 12:4-11
I have two thoughts about this passage. I’ll deal with the first one here, and then share the second in Monday’s post.
The initial thought is brief, but powerful. It comes from the first line of this passage: You have not yet resisted to the point of shedding blood in your striving against sin.
Ouch! How often do we actively contemplate our striving against sin? We desire to live in a way that will please our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. But, do we actively fight against the sin that bombards us constantly? Or do we sit back and convince ourselves that our fight can be passive as long as we’re trying to live right?
If we are actively fighting against sin, we will suffer. On the other hand, if we are not suffering in some shape, form, or fashion, then it is a good sign that we are not actively striving against sin. And if we’re not fighting against it, then we’re giving in to it. Again…ouch!
Not all of our suffering and struggles will be the result of an active fight against sin. But, when I think of my struggles as immediate evidence of the final victory of Christ, I must say that it makes the pain seem a bit more worthwhile. And that to me, is a very sufficient answer to the "Why."