The hard times you face today are not designed by God to punish you. They are designed to bless you. The discipline of God is always meant to bring us into a blessing – “a good land, a land of brooks of water, of fountains and springs, flowing out in the valleys and hills.”
Pride is our primary enemy. The discipline of God will be savage with our arrogance. Deep inside of us, we may think we can shape ourselves up on our own. Worse yet, we may think we are pretty good already. God will do deep surgery to remove that thought. And he tends not to use anesthetics.
“That he might humble you and test you, to do you good in the end.” This is the point of God’s discipline, when he leaves us wanting something that we cannot provide ourselves. God wanted his people to live in the land in holiness, reflecting his glory. They were to be a tangible reminder to the world of the goodness, grace, and justice of God.
“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” (Hebrews 12:11). Are you being trained by God’s discipline, or are you rebelling against it?
Sometimes, God answers our prayers with an emphatic “No!” (See Deuteronomy 3:26.) This is not because God doesn’t love us. Rather, it is because he does love us, and he knows what we need – or what his people, the church, need – better than we do.