Generally speaking, most people like life to be nice and pleasant. We don’t like problems, we don’t like trouble, we don’t like conflict. Unfortunately, the real world intrudes from time to time and we find ourselves having to deal with troubles and trials. Sometimes the problems that we find ourselves facing have no discernible cause, sometimes they are caused by other people and sometimes, as much as we hate to admit it, we cause our own problems. We understand all these things. One of the things about troubles and trials that we often lose sight of is that bad things that happen to us can bring about good in our lives. In Hebrews 12:5-11 the Hebrew writer, quoting from Proverbs 3:11-12 points out that God sometimes allows bad things to happen to us for a reason. In the context of Hebrews 12 the words used (“chastening”, “rebuked”, “scourges”) show that what is under consideration here is discipline. God is allowing us to go through these troubles or perhaps even actively causing them to show us that bad behavior has bad consequences. We should understand this concept. As the Hebrew writer points out, we underwent this same process as children when our human parents disciplined us for the very same reason (vs. 9-10). As the Psalmist says in the 119th Psalm verse 67, “Before I was afflicted I went astray, But now I keep Your word.” His “affliction” made the Psalmist realize that he needed to change his ways, instead of going “astray”; he needed to keep God’s word. We also in times of trouble should “...search out and examine our ways, And turn back to the Lord” (Lamentations 3:40). Sometimes troubles, rather than being a form of punishment that teaches us that bad conduct has bad consequences, can bring about other desirable changes in our character. In Romans 5:3-4 the apostle Paul writes, “And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope.” Going through the troubles of life can make us better than we are. However, in order for life's troubles to be beneficial to us, we must be willing to learn the lessons that they teach. ”Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful; nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.” (Hebrews 12:11).
For Our Profit