3 Values of Hardship (Pastor Resources for Hardship)
Hardship, however it comes into our life, is an instructive and corrective tool of God to develop us to maturity. Hardship leads to the full person He has designed us to be. It tests us to see how much we are maturing.
Today, let’s look at three values of the training God carries out through hardship.
Values of Hardship:
Hardship proves our relationship with God –
Verse 6 says that God’s training program is for, “everyone he accepts as a son (or daughter).” Verse 7 explains, “God is treating you as sons.” Verse 8 says, “If you are not disciplined…then you are illegitimate children and not true sons.”
All of this is to say that a parent takes care to train their children. They want the best for them. The fact that God uses our hardship as training, that He is involved in developing us, that He instructs us, corrects us and tests our growth, is all evidence that we belong to Him. We are His children, and we are to grow up into His likeness.
Hardship expresses God’s love for us –
The original readers could have interpreted their difficulties as God’s inattention, “He doesn’t know, He doesn’t care – we are on our own to handle this.” But nothing could be further from the truth. In reality, the Lord disciplines those He loves.
If God didn’t care, He wouldn’t train us and be so intent on developing our lives to full maturity. He’d just let us do our thing and live any way we wanted.
A loving parent instructs their child, sets limits on their child, corrects their child, says no to their child, and lets their child face difficulty, so they develop inner strength and self-control. A wise, loving parent does not rescue their child from every hard situation. If they do, that child does not learn how to endure, how to put responsibility above feelings, or how to have self-control when emotions are raging in the opposite direction. The wise, loving parent says, “You need to work your way through this, I’m not going to bail you out. I’ll help you know how, I’ll pray for you, be here for you, but I won’t do it for you.”
As hard as that may seem to the child, it is an expression of love by the parent. It is helping the child mature, grow up, and be able to handle the realities of life and not get knocked out emotionally when the inevitable difficulties of life arrive. If you want what’s best for your child, you will let them face hardship. Under your loving guidance and direction, it may hurt them, but it won’t harm them. Hardship is part of the corrective prescription that our lives all need.
In verses 9-11, we have the third value of hardship’s training.
Hardship is for our good –
Did you see the movie Shrek? In the film, an ogre named Shrek and a talking donkey attempted to rescue a princess from a dragon-guarded castle.
On the way to gain freedom for Princess Fiona, Shrek and Donkey came to a rickety wooden bridge that spanned a moat of fiery lava. There was no way to reach the castle except to cross the bridge. The fearless ogre didn’t mind the challenge, but Donkey was blind with fear and confessed his fright to his newfound friend. About half way across the bridge, a board broke away under Donkey’s foot and fell into the lava below. Donkey was horrified and tried to turn back. Shrek then played a bit of a trick on Donkey to distract him, which caused Donkey to back away from Shrek and walk backward toward the castle. Donkey didn’t even realize how far they had gone until they were on the other side and he realized he had completed the daunting task of crossing the bridge. At first, Donkey thought Shrek was unkind and mean when in reality Shrek was helping Donkey get across the bridge to the castle. 1
God disciplines us. He trains us as an ongoing process, and it is always for our good. It is never out of line, never too much, and never for His good, it’s always for our good. He tells us the benefit that the hardship of discipline produces, “that we may share in His holiness,” and that, “it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace.”
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