Hebrews 12:1-17 “Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.
Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted. In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. And 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.
For the Lord disciplines the one he loves,
and chastises every son whom he receives.”
It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons. For what son is there whom his father does not discipline? If you are left without discipline, in which all have participated, then you are illegitimate children and not sons. Besides this, we have had earthly fathers who disciplined us and we respected them. Shall we not much more be subject to the Father of spirits and live? For they disciplined us for a short time as it seemed best to them, but he disciplines us for our good, that we may share his holiness. For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.
Therefore lift your drooping hands and strengthen your weak knees, and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be put out of joint but rather be healed. Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord. See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God; that no “ root of bitterness” springs up and causes trouble, and by it many become defiled; that no one is sexually immoral or unholy like Esau, who sold his birthright for a single meal. For you know that afterward, when he desired to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no chance to repent, though he sought it with tears.”
Today is going to be an unpleasant and painful day; all discipline is. I do not believe that we can link all painful situations and circumstances to certain sins. I do not have that sort of omniscient knowledge. In John 9:1-3, Jesus’ disciples tried to make a direct link to a man they saw born blind. The passage goes like this:
As he (Jesus) passed by, he saw a man blind from birth. And his disciples asked him, “ Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” Jesus answered, “It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him.
We see that it was a common understanding of the day that you could make such links. Jesus corrects their understanding as well as ours. We may not be able to make every connection, yet we can know that whatever trial we are facing, it has been passed through the loving hands of the Lord who is absolutely sovereign over everything and everyone in His creation. He has a good purpose intended from the trial that awaits us today. His purpose is that the fruit of righteousness begin to grow a little brighter and a little sweeter from the tree that is my family’s life. I am to lift my drooping hands, strengthen my weak knees, and make strait paths for my feet. I am to do this all by taking my eyes off of everything else and look to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of my faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross.
“The Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives.” Despite the pain of the last 36 hours, we have felt the love of God in a sweet and special way. For the moment, “all discipline seems painful” but we know that through this, we are “sharing in his holiness.”
We covet your prayers as we head off to deliver our 16 week old still born child.