Day 21 Theme: Strength and Encouragement

No chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby - Hebrews 12:11

If you are suffering under some great trial right now, then hear these empathetic words: no trial feels good at the moment or seems to be a good thing.

If you thought the Bible teaches that you are supposed to feel good under God's chastening hand, then you can now breathe a sigh of relief. God knows that your pain hurts; He does not, and you should not, expect it to feel good when affliction comes.

However, there is this great encouragement — although it does not feel good right now, your trial will have a good result, as you are "exercised" by it. This is an interesting choice of words, because "exercise" in the Greek is the same root from which we get our English word gymnasium.

If you go to any gymnasium today and observe the participants inside, you will see the same principle on display there of which the writer is here speaking — people going through pain and discipline and difficulty in order to obtain a worthwhile goal.

Gymnasts go through rigorous training in order to nail their floor exercises; bodybuilders endure repeated strain in order to chisel their muscles; even middle class moms and men put themselves through strenuous workouts in order to keep their heart healthy. Similarly, we are to understand, suffering is sent to build us up, to keep us healthy.

As we are weaned of this world by trials, and are made to look to God for our strength and fulfillment, we become stronger because of the difficulty we have faced. May your soul-exercise today bring you great rewards in your relationship with your God!

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