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Daily Devotional | A Better Way: The Book of Hebrews | A cross with the sun rising in the background. Daily Devotional | A Better Way: The Book of Hebrews | A cross with the sun rising in the background.

Daily Devotional | The Discipline of Hardship

After going through hardship, one woman widely known for her spirituality complained to God. “If this is the way you treat your friends, no wonder you have so few of them,” she grumbled. It can be hard to understand why God allows us to go through difficulties.

However, the examples of the men and women described in Hebrews 11, “of whom the world was not worthy,” proves that strong faith does not make us immune to hardship (see Heb. 11:38). But the ultimate proof that those God loves may still suffer is found in Jesus Christ. “Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart” (v. 3). Verse 4 provides a reality check for the Hebrew Christians who first received this letter. They had suffered the confiscation of their property (Heb. 10:34). Still, none of them had lost their lives.

But the author of this book has a more encouraging message than simply saying, “Things could be worse.” God has a plan in our suffering. Verse 7 urges us to “endure hardship” because “God is treating you as his children.” We may think that this suffering is a penalty. But it is not punitive; rather, a matter of parental training. We have experienced discipline from our human fathers and managed to respect them (v. 9). How much more should this be the case when the One disciplining us is our perfect heavenly Father!

Any athlete will tell you that training by its very nature is uncomfortable and even exhausting. Why do we submit to it? Because we know what it will produce results. Faith does not eliminate hardship from our lives. It may even lead to it. But through it all, know that you can trust the guiding hand of your Father.

Go Deeper

What hardship are you (or someone you know) struggling with right now? How does Hebrews 12 change our perspective on suffering?

Pray with Us: Father, we want to open our whole lives to You—in moments of joy and in times of hardship and grief. You never promised easy lives to Your children, but we know we can trust your guiding, protecting hand. Thank You!

BY Dr. John Koessler

John Koessler is Professor Emeritus of Applied Theology and Church Ministries at Moody Bible Institute. John authors the “Practical Theology” column for Today in the Word of which he is also a contributing writer and theological editor. An award-winning author, John’s newest title is When God is Silent: Let the Bible Teach You to Pray (Kirkdale). Prior to joining the Moody faculty, he served as a pastor of Valley Chapel in Green Valley, Illinois, for nine years. He and his wife, Jane, now enjoy living in a lakeside town in Michigan.

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