Theme of the Week: Let’s Begin! Wisdom that Works
Bible Verse: My son, do not despise the Lord’s discipline or be weary of his reproof. Proverbs 3:11 ESV
Scripture Reading: Proverbs 3:9-12, 2 Corinthians 1:3-8
This reminds me of The Rolling Stones’ song, “There’ve been good times, there’ve been bad times, I’ve had my share of hard times too.”
The bad times and the hard times seem to double up. When (not if) that happens, honesty forces us to face the only two possibilities about God. Either God loves us passionately, or God hates our guts. It is one or the other. And we all have moments when it feels like God despises us. That is why we are thankful for the opening words in verse 11: “My son . . . ” Do you hear the tenderness in those words? A wise father is counseling the son he loves. What is he saying about the hard times?
When we suffer, it isn’t God angrily taking from us; it is God lovingly reinvesting in us. Suffering feels like anger. It feels like loss. It feels like God has abandoned us. But the heroes of faith in Hebrews 11 suffered. Theirs was no country club religion. They trusted God with all their hearts, and some were tortured, killed, mistreated. Was God mad at them? No; he commended them (Hebrews 11:2, 6, 39). That is why it says, “God is not ashamed to be called their God” (Hebrews 11:16). He was proud of them. To use the language of Proverbs 3:12, he delighted in them.
When you are suffering, here is what you must remember: Your sufferings are not evidence against you, nor are they evidence against God. It is the opposite. Your sufferings are proof that God your Father cherishes you. As Hebrews 12:7 says, quoting these verses, “God is treating you as sons.”
If you are in Christ and you are suffering, God does not hate you. If he did, he would not bother with you. The truth you need to know is this: You are a person of destiny, your greatness has already been won for you by Christ at his cross, and now God is getting you ready with some finishing touches, each one a masterstroke.
Taken from Proverbs: Wisdom That Works by Raymond C. Ortlund Jr., © 2012. Used by permission of Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers, Wheaton, IL 60187, crossway.org.
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