A.Suffering, in all of these various forms, has the ability to expose with hidden fault lines in the heart, which would otherwise be left alone. These areas being left alone does not mean they don’t touch your life. On the contrary, there are dozens of areas in each of our lives that are perverting our perspective, messing up our relationships with one another, and keeping our hearts at enmity with God and His ways.
B.At the end of the day these areas, hidden beneath the surface, are what cause us to either stand or fall in times of temptation. Our lives don’t function on what is perceived or understood, but on what is actual. In reality, we are broken, prone to pride and anger, prone to wander from following hard after God, and then prone to re-define running hard after God so that we don’t have to feel bad about it.
9 “The heart is deceitful above all things, And desperately wicked; Who can know it? (Jer 17:9 NKJV)
21 Would not God find this out? For He knows the secrets of the heart. (Psa 44:21 NASB)
C.The Lord knows our hearts perfectly. He also knows that two great events are coming upon the human race. First, He knows that there is coming a day when the most tremendous pressure to come upon the human race will come against the saints to turn from the Lord. Those who turn will go to the lake of fire forever.
9 Then another angel, a third one, followed them, saying with a loud voice, “If anyone worships the beast and his image, and receives a mark on his forehead or on his hand, 10 he also will drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is mixed in full strength in the cup of His anger; and he will be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb. 11 “And the smoke of their torment goes up forever and ever; they have no rest day and night, those who worship the beast and his image, and whoever receives the mark of his name.” 12 Here is the perseverance of the saints who keep the commandments of God and their faith in Jesus. (Rev 14:9-12 NASB)
D.He also knows that another day is coming called the white throne judgment. Every human who has ever lived will stand before God and He will give a verdict of their lives. The outcome of that day is eternal. There will not be any negotiation or discussion. He knows the truth and He will reveal that truth openly.
11 Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat upon it, from whose presence earth and heaven fled away, and no place was found for them. 12 And I saw the dead, the great and the small, standing before the throne, and books were opened; and another book was opened, which is the book of life; and the dead were judged from the things which were written in the books, according to their deeds. 13 And the sea gave up the dead which were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead which were in them; and they were judged, every one of them according to their deeds. 14 Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. 15 And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire. (Rev 20:11-15 NASB)
E.Given the severity of these two events, our Father is not willing to let us remain undisturbed. He has designed us in such a way that as we are disturbed by something as common as our spouse hurting our feelings, if we agree with the grace of God He can actually deal with these areas of weakness and pride that leave us vulnerable to compromise.
5 … and all of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, for GOD IS OPPOSED TO THE PROUD, BUT GIVES GRACE TO THE HUMBLE. 6 Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time, (1Pe 5:5-6 NASB)
F. We usually surround ourselves with people and activities that strengthen the delusion of who we are at our core. We would all love to believe that what we are like inside is what we see when all of our circumstances are favorable. (which is an idea we got from humanism) In reality, we seldom get a good look at our inward condition. Only when the comforts and inner scaffolding that keep us propped up are momentarily brought down do we get a glimpse of reality. Again, we must be acquainted with reality in order to deal with it.
G. In discipline God treats us as sons. Just like an earthly father prepares his son for life situations that their young minds cannot possibly conceive of, so our heavenly Father disciplines us for things that are coming that our mind cannot conceive of right now. Just as a foolish son rejects the broken discipline of a human father, we are infinitely more foolish to reject those things that our Father in heaven uses to discipline us. If seen rightly, we would understand that the discipline of our Father is the only hope that we have of finishing this race well and with a great inheritance in the age to come, and we would covet it.
6 FOR THOSE WHOM THE LORD LOVES HE DISCIPLINES, AND HE SCOURGES EVERY SON WHOM HE RECEIVES.” 7 It is for discipline that you endure; God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom his father does not discipline? (Hbr 12:6-7 NASB)