Have you faced some difficult times lately? Have you ever asked yourself, "Why doesn't God step in and rescue me from my suffering?" Have you ever considered that God might be using your painful circumstances to make you holy?
The author of Hebrews leads us to believe that God is at work in the midst of our miseries "in order that we may share in his holiness" (Hebrews 12:10 ). In this we are reminded that God's ultimate goal for our lives is not that we be happy, healthy, and wealthy; but that we be holy. A little later in Hebrews the author writes, "Make every effort to live in peace with all men and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord" (Hebrews 12:14). Since this is the case, it should change the way we look at the difficulties we face in this lifetime, but for most of us this requires a change of perspective.
First of all, this requires us to change the way we look at discipline. Most of us look at discipline as a negative thing, like we are being punished for something. Discipline in the bible is not regarded as a punishment, but as a tool used to cultivate our mind, our morals, and our souls. The author of Hebrews encourages us to "endure hardship as discipline." To put it in my own words, we should look at adverse circumstances as an opportunity for God to shape our mind, morals, and souls to be more holy.
Second, we should see this as God desiring what is best for us. Hebrews 12:10 says, "...but God disciplines us for our good." God has our best interest in mind in ALL situations. That doesn’t mean that God causes all situations, but that in the midst of all situations God is seeking to bring about what is best for us. Romans 8:28 says, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” Our God is good!