|“Now, discipline always seems painful rather than pleasant at the time, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness.”
“Amen, Brother,” I say. This chapter in Hebrews on discipline and facing hardship has much to be commended. However, this line says what is my reality in suffering most of the time. That is, I know that enduring the suffering that this world brings is central to the faithful Christian life, but I rarely have the demeanor to see past whatever pain that I am enduring. Applying the Scriptures to daily life, I’ve experienced childbirth as a prime example of this.
I had ideas going into labor with my first child of how I would handle the pain: nobly, with the relaxation techniques I had been taught. However, I left it all behind the first time a real wave of pain hit and instead relied upon a doula and a husband to hold me up and to remind me with each contraction that it was with intentional relaxation, not through tense fighting, that the pain and labor would pass most quickly.
As a neophyte in the Christian life, this seems to me how I often endure suffering. Someone stronger than me holds me up while another stands beside me and reminds me without tiring — not that the pain is not real — but what I can do to best endure what I undergo. Though I cannot see an end, those around me may know it’s there, and in knowing this can have the strength to hold me up and help me endure the very real moments of pain with the conviction of hope that the Lord brings goodness out of suffering.