Good morning! I hope this day finds you and your family well, and I want you to know that you are in my prayers daily during this difficult time.
I invite you to take a few moments with me to reflect on today’s Upper Room Devotional below — as well as on the theology woven into “It is well with my soul.”
Special thanks to Peggy Graff and her guests for providing this uplifting and inspiring addition to us in her Hymn-a-Day May series. I pray that these paired daily selections will uplift your spirits and feed your soul as much as it does mine.
Hebrews 12:4-11 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)
4 In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. 5 And you have forgotten the exhortation that addresses you as children—
“My child, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord,
or lose heart when you are punished by him;
6 for the Lord disciplines those whom he loves,
and chastises every child whom he accepts.”
7 Endure trials for the sake of discipline. God is treating you as children; for what child is there whom a parent does not discipline? 8 If you do not have that discipline in which all children share, then you are illegitimate and not his children. 9 Moreover, we had human parents to discipline us, and we respected them. Should we not be even more willing to be subject to the Father of spirits and live? 10 For they disciplined us for a short time as seemed best to them, but he disciplines us for our good, in order that we may share his holiness. 11 Now, discipline always seems painful rather than pleasant at the time, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.
The early Church struggled to make sense of the suffering that they endured as a persecuted sect. The way they did this varied from writer to writer. The writer of Hebrews sought to make sense of suffering by comparing it to being disciplined as a child. Hebrews 12:11 puts it this way: “Now, discipline always seems painful rather than pleasant at the time, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.”
Some people believe that God causes difficulty to teach us a lesson, to punish, or to discipline. But Jesus says otherwise. Remember Jesus’ teaching in the Sermon on the Mount that God “makes the sun rise on both the evil and the good and sends rain on both the righteous and the unrighteous.” (Matthew 5:45)
So, what about the words of Hebrews 12? Perhaps it is best to think in terms of how good can come from even the most difficult of circumstances and how having gone through difficulties we may be better suited to help others through theirs.
Thank you for sharing this early moment of your day with me, with God, and with the words and music that I hope you will carry with you throughout the coming day and night.
I am so grateful for you, for our church, and for the Love that will see us all through this very difficult time. Please stay safe and well and we’ll be together again in spirit tomorrow morning!
Grace and Peace,
Dr. Tim Bruster