Proverbs 3:11-12 New International Version (NIV)
11 My son, do not despise the Lord’s discipline,
and do not resent his rebuke,
12 because the Lord disciplines those he loves,
as a father the son he delights in.
Proverbs 19:3 New American Standard Bible (NASB)
3 The foolishness of man ruins his way,
And his heart rages against the Lord.
I think these Proverbs go together well, because 3:11-12 is a warning not to do what the fool does in 19:3. How often do we make our problems worse by refusing to acknowledge that a lot of them are of our own making? We do stupid stuff and God in His goodness allows us to suffer consequences. But instead of recognizing His loving hand of discipline and responding in repentance and faith, we listen to the voice of the Accuser:
“God’s against you, not for you. He never comes through; He doesn’t care about you!”
“He’s so hacked off at your bone-headed decisions, He’s going to let you crash and burn!”
If we listen to the voice, slowly hope gets crushed, we begin to doubt God’s loving concern and we actually begin to resent Him. Then we lose perspective and can’t see anything but the problem and can’t or won’t perceive anything about the solution.
Whoever the writer to Hebrews was (some say Paul, some Apollos, I think it could have been Priscilla) expanded on the Proverbs warning:
Hebrews 12:7-13 New American Standard Bible (NASB)
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? 8 But if you are without discipline, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate children and not sons. 9 Furthermore, we had earthly fathers to discipline us, and we respected them; shall we not much rather be subject to the Father of spirits, and live? 10 For they disciplined us for a short time as seemed best to them, but He disciplines us for our good, so that we may share His holiness. 11 All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness.
12 Therefore, strengthen the hands that are weak and the knees that are feeble, 13 and make straight paths for your feet, so that the limb which is lame may not be put out of joint, but rather be healed.
So, it seems to me, some of the most important things to ask ourselves when we’re “going through it” have to do with God’s character, purposes and intent:
- Does God truly love me?
- Is He faithful?
- Why would He allow the current circumstances?
- What do I need to learn?
- How do I need to change?
- What’s the best way, given my current circumstances, to express my faith in His character, His love for me and His goal to bring me back to green pastures in due season?