Hebrews 12:10-15 For our earthly fathers disciplined us for a few years, doing the best they knew how. But God’s discipline is always good for us, so that we might share in his holiness. No discipline is enjoyable while it is happening—it’s painful. But afterward there will be a peaceful harvest of right living for those who are trained in this way. So take a new grip with your tired hands and strengthen your weak knees. . . Work at living in peace with everyone . . . Look after each other so that none of you fails to receive the grace of God. Watch out that no poisonous root of bitterness grows up to trouble you, corrupting many.
We are just home from the white beaches and relaxing waves of Natal, Brazil, their glow still warm on our skin, our long-time Brazilian friends’ laughter still gladdening our hearts. Four airplanes (one actually a prop plane) and twenty-eight hours of travel gave me time to consider what I was flying back to. So much joy! So much sorrow! So many delights, and so many challenges.
More than at the turn of the new year, I thought about last year and this. Reviewing my joy-filled “year chapter” from 2019, Isaiah 35, took me to this passage in Hebrews, which draws from Isaiah 35:3, “The Lord will display his glory . . . With this news, strengthen those who have tired hands, and encourage those who have weak knees. Say to those with fearful hearts, ‘Be strong, and do not fear.’”
Interesting: Isaiah 35:3 is based on gladness, singing joy, loveliness, and God’s glory. Hebrews 12:12 uses the same words to cap a description of God’s discipline, and points forward to hard work, the work of living at peace with each other, free of bitterness.
What’s the connection between joy and discipline, peace and hard work? How have you seen this in your own life? How do you want the Lord to strengthen your tired hands and weak knees? What challenges do you face in living at peace with those in your life, and living free of bitterness? Please take a few minutes to let me know!