The Happy Place of Hardship | Hebrews 12

Welcome to Real Life. “Discipline yourself so no one else has to.” –John Wooden
Endure hardship as discipline.
Honestly, I don't like this verse. Endure. Hardship. Discipline. Those aren’t happy place words. However, during a season of hardship, they earned a trophy in my heart.

Suddenly, life had grown difficult. It seemed terribly unfair. “Why?” I kept asking God. Just when things were getting easier. The kids were growing up. Dennis had left for his first year of college. Cal and I were homeschooling his final years of high school. I could breathe.

And then, BAM! My elderly parents needed assistance. They left Florida and moved in with us. Suddenly, I was drowning in pain. Emotional pain in grieving my parents’ loss of strength, health, and vitality. Physical pain as the added responsibilities stressed and exhausted me (and my back throbbed from lifting Mom). Spiritual pain as I vacillated between “If I had more faith, I could handle this” and “If God loves me, why is he allowing this?”

“Endure hardship as discipline,” I just happened upon (wink) in God’s Word as I swirled in this vortex of turmoil. My Father God sat me down for a heart-to-heart in Hebrews 12. My challenging circumstances felt like punishment. But my perspective was wrong. My heavenly Father was doing what loving fathers do. They teach their kids. Whether God ordains or allows our difficulties, he wants us to welcome them as tools of discipleship.
God is educating you; that’s why you must never drop out. He’s treating you as dear children. This trouble you’re in isn’t punishment; it’s training, the normal experience of children.
Hebrews 12:7­–8 MSG
Hardship matures us. Caregiving teaches selflessness and humility. I watched a deathly ill friend develop empathy for others who are suffering and begin praying for them. Our difficulties drive us to seek God with greater intensity. Instead of “Why?” let's ask, “How?” How will you use this for my good, Lord (Romans 8:28)? How can this make me more like Jesus Christ? Hardship plants seeds of righteousness.
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.
Hebrews 12:11 NIV
Hardship also plants seeds of peace. My past difficulties leave me calmly assured about the future. God helped us then; he’ll help us with whatever comes tomorrow. I have peace as I reflect on our caregiving season with no regrets. For we loved and cared for our parents the best we could. No doubt, hardship is stressful. However, it can produce a harvest of peace.

My Beautiful Parents
Endure hardship as discipline. They’re not happy place words. But they can lead us to a happy place of righteousness and peace!

Even what the enemy means for evil
You turn it for our good
You turn it for our good and for Your glory
Even in the valley, You are faithful
You're working for our good
You're working for our good and for Your glory 

Your plans are still to prosper
You have not forgotten us
You're with us in the fire and the flood
You're faithful forever
Perfect in love
You are sovereign over us 

Excerpts of “Sovereign Over Us” by Michael W. Smith  

Father God,
In the midst of our pain
Help us gain the proper perspective.
You are a loving father. You desire what’s best for us.
We open our hearts to your discipline.
Please use this hardship for our good and your glory!
In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.


Has hardship taken you to a happy place? I’d love to hear about it. Please leave a comment.

Take it further… Read Hebrews 12.

Comments

  1. Natalie CavanaughJuly 17, 2019 at 10:16 AM

    Peggy - I remember this time in your life and even though I know it was so hard - I remember watching you work through it with so much grace and determination. (Even if you didn't think so :-) It was an example to many - including me! And now, I'm walking through a similar time with my step dad's dementia and watching my mom grieve and be overwhelmed and overworked and completely exhausted. Whether it's being the direct caregiver or the "caregiver of the caregiver" - - - - only Jesus brings any peace or hope. Thanks Peggi for another great article!

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    Replies
    1. Thanks, Natalie, for your beautiful words. They brought tears! I will pray for you and your family as you support your mom and step-dad. Trusting God will carry you through these difficult days! Love you!

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  2. Each experience in life has the ability to teach us and allows us to draw closer to God. I pray I am alert and remember to lean on Him.

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    Replies
    1. Hi, Melissa. Thanks for stopping by. I love your comment and your prayer. I'm praying it now!

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