When life is really hard

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 (Hebrews 12:5–7, ESV)?

The road you walk through your trial is different than the dark road your non-Christian neighbors travel. They have no concept of what’s going on in their lives, what it means, or where it’s going. The fact that as you’re going through difficult days, you’re not growing bitter but you’re better, and you love the Lord more—all of that is proof positive that you’re a card-carrying member of the family of God.

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What confirmation that is! You are part of God’s family. You’re one of His daughters or sons. We’re His children.

Maybe when you read about trials, you can’t relate. Perhaps you’re thinking, I don’t know what you’re talking about. Everything is humming along in my life, and it has been that way for a decade now. No problems of any kind: money in the bank, no health crisis, kids are perfect, marriage is rocking! While that might seem like good news, it’s not. Hebrews 12:5–7 says that all God’s kids are getting it! So if you’re not going through any trials, you’d better return to “GO” and find out if you’re really in the family.

But if you are in the family, then a lot of amazing things are coming your way. As 1 John 3:1 says, “See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are.” As a child of God . . .

  • You get hell canceled. (Even if the list stopped there, that would still be amazing!)
  • You get heaven guaranteed.
  • You get the Spirit of God as the deposit that the rest of God’s blessing is coming.
  • You get the assurance of the forgiveness of sin.
  • You get the camaraderie of Christian fellowship.

If you’re in a trial, see it as proof of God’s love for you. If God didn’t love you, if you weren’t His child, then He wouldn’t discipline you. “For the Lord disciplines the one he loves” (Hebrews 12:6). Let me speak that truth loudly, clearly, and straight into your heart: God loves you. His eyes are upon you every moment (2 Chronicles 16:9). You are never out of His thoughts (Isaiah 49:15). He loves you “with an everlasting love” (Jeremiah 31:3). And nothing will ever “be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:39). You did nothing to deserve His love. You don’t do anything to maintain it. You didn’t earn it, so you can never lose it. God has chosen to set His love on you, not because of who you are but because of who He is. He is your Father, and you are His child.

And every trial you go through proves that.

Click here to get your tickets for the encore of Revive Us 2 before it’s too late! 

This post originally appeared on Dr. James MacDonald’s daily devotional Our Journey and was republished with permission. 

James MacDonald (D. Min. Phoenix Seminary) is the founding senior pastor of Harvest Bible Chapel, leads the church-planting ministry of Harvest Bible Fellowship, teaches the practical application of God’s Word on the Walk in the Word radio and television programs, and is a gifted author and speaker. You can find out more about James and his ministries at WalkintheWord.org.


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