Cheers to a little cross-posting
Be careful to follow every command I am giving you today, so that you may live and increase and may enter and possess the land that the LORD promised on oath to your forefathers. Remember how the LORD your God led you all the way in the desert these forty years, to humble you and to test you in order to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep his commands. He humbled you, causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna, which neither you nor your fathers had known, to teach you that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD.
Maybe one of the reasons I’ve been struggling with things lately (finances probably being the key thing but there’s stuff with work and relationships too) is that the LORD is leading me through my own personal desert. These difficulties have not been fun and I often wish things would get better instantaneously … I don’t want to have to work at things. I hope like the Israelites this experience is leading to humility, a heart that is pleasing to God, and a greater understanding of what it means to live for Christ and be more like him in all areas of my life. Even in the midst of what sometimes seems like senseless chaos.
And of course, most of all, I hope that eventually when I’m on the plateau examining the desert I’ve crossed, that I can see a good path of positive growth and change, a path that led me closer to understanding who God is and his love for me.
As the author of Hebrews stated so eloquently:
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily hinders our progress. And let us run with endurance the race that God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, on whom our faith depends from start to finish. He was willing to die a shameful death on the cross because of the joy he knew would be his afterward. Now he is seated in the place of highest honor beside God’s throne in heaven. Think about all he endured when sinful people did such terrible things to him, so that you don’t become weary and give up. After all, you have not yet given your lives in your struggle against sin.
And have you entirely forgotten the encouraging words God spoke to you, his children? He said,
“My child, don’t ignore it when the Lord disciplines you, and don’t be discouraged when he corrects you. For the Lord disciplines those he loves, and he punishes those he accepts as his children.”
As you endure this divine discipline, remember that God is treating you as his own children. Whoever heard of a child who was never disciplined? If God doesn’t discipline you as he does all of his children, it means that you are illegitimate and are not really his children after all. Since we respect our earthly fathers who disciplined us, should we not all the more cheerfully submit to the discipline of our heavenly Father and live forever?
For our earthly fathers disciplined us for a few years, doing the best they knew how. But God’s discipline is always right and good for us because it means we will share in his holiness. No discipline is enjoyable while it is happening—it is painful! But afterward there will be a quiet harvest of right living for those who are trained in this way.