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Your response to hardships matters to God. How should a believer act when he or she is going through a storm?
We all face hardships in life. Jesus and the Apostles had to encounter many hard situations in life, and we are not exempt from them. Whenever we face a difficult situation in life, we should ask a question: is this a chastening from the Lord or is this a test from God? The answer to these questions matters. First, because if we know the answer, we will know how to approach and respond to the situation. Second, because it will help us endure with a different attitude and God will get all the glory.
Therefore, one needs discernment concerning the situation he or she is in. And God is the only one who can help us see things from His perspective. So, your response to hardships should be different if you are chastised by God or if you are tested. So what kind of response should I have for my specific situation? There are two primary responses:
1. Your response to hardships should be repentance
Have you forgotten the warning addressed to you as sons? “My son, do not take lightly the discipline of Adonai or lose heart when you are corrected by Him, because Adonai disciplines the one He loves and punishes every son He accepts.” It is for discipline that you endure. God is treating you as sons—for what son does a father not discipline? But if you are without discipline—something all have come to share—then you are illegitimate and not sons.
As vs. five says, many of us have forgotten the truth that God is chastising His children. Much of our life difficulties can be found in the words: have you forgotten..? God is not the author of evil. However, we have the option to choose right or wrong, and though we do not like to talk about consequences, every decision we take had consequences.
God’s chastising should not be taken as a sign of His rejection but of His love to us. He is chastising us for our good. And it is good when He does discipline us because He is doing it in His love.
Therefore, the Bible is teaching us to not take lightly His discipline or to not despise it. God’s chastising is a sign that you are His beloved son or daughter. It is His loving tool to keep us on the right track. And always remember that His discipline is not to make us pay for our sins as only the sacrifice of Jesus is able to do that and not our sufferings. So always remember that your response to hardships because of God’s chastising should be repentance.
2. Your response to hardships should be
Whenever I think of a person who was tested by God, Job is the first who comes into my mind. He was tested by God big time. He lost all of his fortunes and all his seven sons and three daughters. In one day he lost everything and had to make ten coffins for his children. However, what was Job’s response? Job 1:21-22 (TLV)
Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will return there. Adonai gave and Adonai has taken away; blessed be the Name of Adonai.” Through all this, Job did not sin nor did he cast reproach on God.
And if that was not enough God also allowed Satan to test him through sickness (Job 2:4-7). By the way, his illness did not come from the Lord. Moreover, even his wife was against him and gave him
He said to her, “You speak as any foolish woman would speak. Should we accept the good from God and not accept the bad?” Through all this Job did not sin with his lips.
My hope is that you see the wisdom in Job’s words. Job understand that the Lord does not owe us good but He gives good to us as a gift that we should accept. Likewise, when adversity comes we should have the wisdom to see that there may be a ‘gift’ in it that we should accept.
Probably you find yourself in a difficult situation too. Maybe you even have many questions
I know for many mistakes I did I had to accept the consequences. Indeed, it was hard. However, my difficult problems were not because of God but because of my sins and mistakes. One of the things I have learned was that even if I am a child of God it doesn’t mean God will deliver me instantly from my problems. But He will give me the grace to be forgiven if I repent. Often I think how would it be my life facing hardships without His grace? It is hard to go through hardships having access to His grace but how it would be without His grace?
Therefore, if you face a difficult situation remember that your response to hardships matters. If you are in a difficult situation because of your sin, then your answer should be repentance. However, if you are facing hardships because God is testing you then ask for the grace to endure to the end. As someone said God is not always changing our circumstances, but He always wants to change us.
Spend time with God and ask for wisdom and light over your life situation. Then discern what your response to hardships should be. Don’t adopt the wrong attitude and response to your life situation.
Do you agree?
Philip Yancey wrote an excellent book about suffering. I am sure it will encourage you!