walk in the word
3Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted. 4In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. 5And have you forgotten the exhortation that addresses you as sons? “My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor be weary when reproved by him. 6For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives.” —Hebrews 12:3-6
How can God be both sovereign and loving? There is no doubt suffering exists in the world. If He could not stop the suffering, God would not be sovereign. If He can stop it and doesn’t, how can God be loving? Here is what you need to comprehend. If God is not loving according to your definition of loving, God reminds us, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord” (Isaiah 55:8). Our perceptions need a reality check from God’s Word.
As I’ve noted before, God’s love is not a pampering love. His love is a perfecting love. He does not spend each day thinking about how to put a bigger smile on your face. God’s love designs a plan to deliver the highest usefulness out of your life. He is in the process of growing and changing you.
Hebrews 12:6 states, “For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives.” In fact, if you are without God’s discipline, the Bible says you are not really one of His children. When you’re experiencing His discipline, God’s love sees the big picture when you can only see a part of it. Sometimes, in His sovereignty, God decides (and who can explain it?), “I will allow this.”
Think of the number of times God protects us. Who would say, “Every terrible thing that could possibly happen to me has happened”? If you think that, you’re wrong. God promises that He always allows circumstances for a purpose.
God has sovereignly chosen, rather than making the world perfect, to make the world free. He shows His strength and glory by giving His presence during trials to those who love Him. Believers go through the same things that people who don’t know Him go through. He brings glory to Himself through the contrast made by His presence.
Bad things do happen to good people—God is sovereign even over that. And His ways are always loving.
Father, as I seek to understand Your loving discipline, I want to “consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that [I] may not grow weary or fainthearted” (Hebrews 12:3). Your Son experienced both the highs and lows of the entire human experience without complaint, for Your glory. How can I claim to be Your child and expect anything less from Your wise and loving hand? Teach me to trust Your sovereign will, and lean into whatever You allow in my life. In Jesus’ name, amen.
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