I read somewhere recently the statement “God is preparing you, not punishing you”. Sorry, can’t remember who said it (Perry Noble?) but it certainly has made me think.
It’s pretty hard to tell the difference between punishment and being prepared for something intense. Boot camp has to feel pretty “punishing” for recruits pushed to their breaking point every day with very little sleep or rest. It’s hard to tell as an outsider whether football players are being “prepared” or “punished” at their pre-season camps.
Just like a Good Coach or Drill Instructor, God’s plan is not to permanently harm us when we go through tough times. His plan is not to injure us…but he does push us further than we ever thought possible…to prove to us that when we trust him we can be stronger than we ever imagined. The great news is that even though we feel many times like we are “breaking”, God knows us better than we know ourselves and the Bible promises that we will not be “tempted more than we can stand“. We will not be “pushed past our breaking point”.
So for all of us who are followers of Jesus going through difficult times. Remember, God is not PUNISHING you…he disciplines…he corrects…he “redirects” our attention… but most of all he “prepares” us to come out stronger than we ever thought possible. Don’t give up…don’t give in to feeling “punished”. You are being prepared!
2 Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles 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. James 1:2-4