Thursday, January 16, 2014

Sometimes Life Sucks. For A Reason

One of the hard things for Christians to understand is when we face difficult times. If Yahweh is as loving as he says he is why is it that we go through some of the tings we go through? Why does he let my heart get broken? Why can't I find a job? Why can't I seem to pay my bills? Why does everything always seem to be so hard? Sometimes we would rather see Yahweh as a Santa Claus than as a father.

Father's have the responsibility to raise their children by training them for life and eternity. We are not babysitters who just have to entertain the kids until someone else takes them off our hands. We have to train them the best we can so that when they move out on their own they are as prepared as possible to deal with the world. It means we cannot raise spoiled children and there is a lot of hard lessons in the training. But it is better to learn those lessons in the protection of a loving family than alone in a cruel world. Our heavenly Father has the same responsibility, only his preparation and training is for our eternity.

Hebrews 12 has a lot to say on this subject:

 Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as his children. For what children are not disciplined by their father? If you are not disciplined—and everyone undergoes discipline—then you are not legitimate, not true sons and daughters at all. (Hebrews 12:7-8)

Our fathers here disciplined us as best they knew how, not because they were cruel, but so that we would grow up right and ready for the world. How much better is our heavenly Father's discipline:

They disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, in order that we may share in his holiness. 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. (vs. 10-11)

We see a perfect example of Yahweh's correcting and training techniques with Israel, when he brought them out of Egypt. Everything they went through was arranged and it was for their benefit even though it seemed like hardship at the time:

 And you shall remember that the Lord your God led you all the way these forty years in the wilderness, to humble you and test you, to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep His commandments or not. (Deuteronomy 8:2)

The purpose was to humble them, making them dependent on him, and to test them, to see if they would obey because obedience would be important for the centuries ahead. And this is how he trained them and how he provided:

So He humbled you, allowed you to hunger, and fed you with manna which you did not know nor did your fathers know, that He might make you know that man shall not live by bread alone; but man lives by every word that proceeds from the mouth of the Lord. Your garments did not wear out on you, nor did your foot swell these forty years. You should know in your heart that as a man chastens his son, so the Lord your God chastens you. (vs. 3-5)

They faced some hard lessons but the generation that left the desert was the most powerful, obedient, and dedicated generation of Israelites who ever lived. Those hardships brought them into an incredible relationship with Yahweh that allowed them to have confidence to defeat nations through their obedience, living by every word that proceeded from the mouth of the LORD. This is exactly where the LORD wants us to be: dependent, obedient and powerful. But it takes training and discipline.

Yahweh has a purpose for everything we face and those things that we have caused by our own foolishness he will use for our benefit as well. Our part in everything we face is to face it in the joy of the Lord, with confidence, hope and trust. Our part is to listen and obey in love. No matter what it is you are in the midst of right now, be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified or discouraged because the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.

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