Why is God sometimes tough on us?

In my book Journey to Omwana, Julia struggles with life being too hard. I've felt that way at times, that circumstances demand more of me than I can handle. In those instances, I have felt like giving up, or I have questioned what in the world God is doing and why.

Hebrews 12 has been a life-changing passage for me in this regard. I first read this chapter when I agreed to be part of a summer project in college that demanded more from me physically, financially, and spiritually than I thought I was capable of. I wanted to give up, go home, and forget I had ever agreed to such a venture.

Before I could, however, the staff member who directed the project asked me to read Hebrews 12. I did and found that summer to be one of the most life-changing ones I’ve ever experienced. I ended up memorizing that passage and have pulled those words out numerous times throughout my life as I’ve needed perspective during difficult times. The whole chapter is wonderful, but look at Hebrews 12:10-11 (NLT):

"For our earthly fathers disciplined us for a few years, doing the best they knew how. But God’s discipline is always good for us, so that we might share in his holiness. No discipline is enjoyable while it is happening—it’s painful! But afterward there will be a peaceful harvest of right living for those who are trained in this way."

Ever since that summer project, I’ve taken comfort from knowing that I do not go through things to be punished, but to be made into a better person. As Max Lucado says, “God loves you as you are, but he loves you too much to let you stay that way.”

If you are going through a difficult time right now, take courage. Although it seems hard at the moment, God is doing something good in you, if you let him—something that will bear a “peaceful harvest of right living.” Verses 12-13 go on to say, “So take a new grip with your tired hands and strengthen your weak knees. Mark out a straight path for your feet so that those who are weak and lame will not fall but become strong.” I can say from experience that it’s worth the effort.

Consider memorizing Hebrews 12, or at least the verses highlighted above. Ask God to work the truth of these words deep into your soul.

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