Hardships can teach us valuable lessons to help us in our quest for maturity. Previously we discussed two hardships and what we can learn from them: physical illnesses and material needs.
Let’s look at two more hardships we can draw lessons from.
Bereavement Tells us Life is Uncertain
If you haven’t lost a loved one, it’s only a matter of time before you do. The closer the departed is to you, the more it will hurt.King David wrote this psalm a long time ago:
“Like as a father pitieth his children, so the LORD pitieth them that fear him. For he knoweth our frame; he remembereth that we are dust. As for man, his days are as grass: as a flower of the field, so he flourisheth. For the wind passeth over it, and it is gone; and the place thereof shall know it no more. But the mercy of the LORD is from everlasting to everlasting upon them that fear him, and his righteousness unto children’s children (Psa 103:13-17).”
James understood the truth of David’s words. He wrote in his epistle:
“Go to now, ye that say, To day or to morrow we will go into such a city, and continue there a year, and buy and sell, and get gain: Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away. For that ye ought to say, If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this, or that (Jas 4:13-15).”
Losing a loved one to death is painful, but even in such pain we are reminded of how short and uncertain life really is.It is wise to keep in mind:“And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment (Heb 9:27).”
Chastisement is Good for Our Souls
We all have our fair share of discipline and punishments from our parents and caregivers when we were growing up.Looking back, we can be thankful for these life lessons because they prepared us for lives as adults.
Our heavenly Father takes a keen interest in our spiritual development. Whenever we stray, He will pull us back by chastising us.
“If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not? But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons. Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live? For they verily for a few days chastened us after their own pleasure; but he for our profit, that we might be partakers of his holiness. Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby (Heb 12:7-11).”
The wise man said: “A reproof entereth more into a wise man than an hundred stripes into a fool (Pro 17:10).” Shall we be wise or foolish? That depends on how we respond to God’s chastisement.
Persecution Teaches Us Endurance
Suffering for the sake of Christ should not take any of us by surprise. Paul had said: “Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution (2Ti 3:12).” John added to that with this statement: “Marvel not, my brethren, if the world hate you (1Jn 3:13).”
Suffering for the sake of Christ is nothing to be ashamed of; in fact, it is a matter for rejoicing. The Lord said:
“Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you (Mat 5:11-12).”
The apostles, instead of becoming demoralised, rejoiced because they suffered for the Lord’s sake. “…when they had called the apostles, and beaten them, they commanded that they should not speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go. And they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for his name (Acts 5:40-41).”
Peter wrote his first epistle to encourage the church to endure in suffering for the Lord.
“Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations: That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ (1Pe 1:6-7).”
“Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy…Wherefore let them that suffer according to the will of God commit the keeping of their souls to him in well doing, as unto a faithful Creator (1Pe 4:12-13, 19).”
In this world, it is inevitable that we will suffer some hardships. Paul expressed in these powerful words:
“For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal (2Co 4:16-18).”
“For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us (Rom 8:18).”