By: Agnes Fulgencio
My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline, and do not lose heart when he rebukes you, because the Lord disciplines those He loves, and He punishes everyone He accepts as a son”. Hebrews 12:5,6 (NIV)
“What if Trials of this Life are God’s Mercies in Disguise?” I have been hearing this line from a song. I tried singing the entire song, too. And I am amazed by how Laura Story could render such a heart-warming, encouraging, emotion-provoking song. In an interview, Story explains, “Blessings are just a bunch of songs about worshipping when life is hard.” When her husband Martin Elvington was diagnosed with brain tumor, she wondered, “Why didn’t you just fix it, God? You’re all powerful and all loving… just fix it.”
There was a time when I found myself asking the same question Laura Story had.
Why do we need to go through a lot of hardships, struggles, temptations, and such? Why can’t God just fix it up for us? I remember how many buckets of tears I shed because of life’s trials: stories of friends’ betrayals, broken dreams, guilt-provoking Bible points, work in the mission field, and health troubles, just to name a few.
Those things made my pillow soaking wet, made me skip my meals, and gave me many pimples and big eye bags. Then I started asking, “Are those things really NECESSARY in our lives?”
Just like the Israel of old. They also have asked, “If God is leading us, why do all these things come upon us?” (Essentials for Healthfull Living EGW p107)
I found the answer here in Korea through the writings of Mrs. Ellen G. White.
“Trials and obstacles are the Lord’s chosen methods of DISCIPLINE and His appointed conditions of success.” (Essentials for Healthfull Living EGW p107)
I remember the story of Joseph, Daniel, Job and a lot more. They were ever faithful and loyal to God. But God didn’t prevent them from experiencing painful trials in their lives. Daniel was held captive. Later on, was tested and thrown into the lion’s den. Joseph was sold as a slave–by his very own brothers. He was accused and put to prison for many years of a sin he never committed. Job lost everything that he had. But these things have only preserved their faith and loyalty to God. Discipline is a necessity, I can now conclude.
Hebrews 12:5 and 6 says (NIV), “…..My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline, and do not lose heart when he rebukes you, because the Lord disciplines those He loves, and He punishes everyone He accepts as a son”.
God loves us so much that He doesn’t want us to be walking away from His fold. In verse 11 of the same text, it says “No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it”
“What if my greatest disappointments or the aching of this life is a revealing of a greater thirst this world can’t satisfy?” The song shows that we still have more questions than answers, Laura Story confesses. Every time we face trials and “aching of this life,” God wants us to decide to fully trust in Him.
Heb 13:8 (NIV) mentions, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever”. If God helped, provided, and guided those people before, He will also do the same for us. He just wants us to be strong and hold fast to Him.
EGW said in Essentials for Healthful Living 108, “The fact that we are called upon to endure trial shows that the Lord Jesus sees in us something precious which He desires to develop…if He saw in us nothing whereby He might glorify His name, He would not spend time in refining us. He does not cast worthless stones into His furnace. It is valuable ore that He refines.” Trials will test our faith in the Lord, and when our faith levels have been exhaustively tested, this will then help improve our character. In other words, we can become better and holy people in the Lord if we allow fiery tests to shape, mold, and transform us.
In James 1: 2-4 (NIV) says “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds. (3) Because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. (4)Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be MATURE and COMPLETE, not LACKING ANYTHING.”
“In the future life the mysteries that have here annoyed and disappointed us will be made plain. We shall see that our seemingly unanswered prayers and disappointed hopes have been among our greatest blessings”.