Thanks for the Hard Times

Tim Savage

"But what could I say? For he himself sent this sickness. Now I will walk humbly throughout my years because of this anguish I have felt. Lord, your discipline is good, for it leads to life and health. You restore my health and allow me to live! Yes, this anguish was good for me, for you have rescued me from death and forgiven all my sins. For the dead cannot praise you; they cannot raise their voices in praise. Those who go down to the grave can no longer hope in your faithfulness. Only the living can praise you as I do today. Each generation tells of your faithfulness to the next." (Isaiah 38:15-19)
Hardships sometimes crash in to our lives. It's never easy to face sickness, trials or financial challenges, but often God allows these things to happen to His children so we can learn valuable lessons about faith, holiness and perseverance. In this passage, Isaiah says that the Lord's discipline is good, but discipline isn't easy or nice when you're going through it; it's tough and painful, but this reward leads to life and health. Our temporary pain brings eternal joy.
Each of us has our own hardships - physical, spiritual or mental - and while we do everything possible to avoid the pain and shame of our situation, God has a more important plan. He uses these things to open our eyes, teach us truths and help us to grow in to all that He wants us to become. Isaiah says that pain and anguish are necessary; that it's purpose is much more important than the temporary suffering. So what does that mean for us? How do we face our very real hardships and challenges? With the knowledge that God is doing a work in us and that we can emerge better, stronger and more like Him. He will never give us more that we can handle, but we must rely on Him and His strength rather than our own. This experience will free us from the bondage of sin and lies and open our minds to the freedom that only He can give.
Dear Heavenly Father,
Thank you for the hardships that burn away the trash of our lives and leave only the precious. Thank You for caring enough to discipline us because we know that You only discipline those You love. Help me to accept these times with grace. May my life glorify You.

In Jesus name,

Devotions for July 23

2 Kings 20
Isaiah 38,39
Psalms 75
1 Peter 2

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