Some people's explanations of God made him sound like an absent-minded grandpa or a Santa Claus. Others made Him sound like an angry teacher or aloof king.
But God is none of these things.
When we study Scripture, we understand that God is our loving Father, who knows exactly (perfectly) what encouragement, rebuke, instruction and discipline we need. He's not waiting to knock us down nor is He ignorant of our need for correction. He's neither harsh nor permissive.
God's discipline can be punishment but very often it's training.
“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.” Hebrews 12:5-6
Understanding God's true character is critical when facing hardships.
Read each of the passages below and record insights about the purpose of hardships in the life of a believer and also note insights about God's character.
Genesis 50:20: You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.
John 9:1-3: As he passed by, he saw a man blind from birth. 2 And his disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” 3 Jesus answered, “It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him.
Romans 8:28: And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.
2 Corinthians 1:8-9: For we do not want you to be unaware, brothers, of the affliction we experienced in Asia. For we were so utterly burdened beyond our strength that we despaired of life itself. 9 Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death. But that was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead.
2 Corinthians 4:8-11, 17: We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; 9 persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; 10 always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies. 11 For we who live are always being given over to death for Jesus' sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh... 17 For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison...
Psalm 119:71,75: It is good for me that I was afflicted, that I might learn your statutes... I know, O LORD, that your rules are righteous, and that in faithfulness you have afflicted me.
1 Peter 1:6-7: So be truly glad. There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you must endure many trials for a little while. 7 These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold—though your faith is far more precious than mere gold. So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world.
James 1:2-4: Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. 3 For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. 4 So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.
For Further Study:
2 Corinthians 12:6-10
1 Corinthians 11:27-32
Ananias and Sapphira
copyright, Gail Burton Purath, BiteSizeBibleStudy.com