One of God’s first gifts to the finest of His creations, human beings, is the assignment and empowerment to name things.
19 Now out of the ground the Lord God had formed every beast of the field and every bird of the heavens and brought them to the man to see what he would call them. And whatever the man called every living creature, that was its name. 20 The man gave names to all livestock and to the birds of the heavens and to every beast of the field. Genesis 2:19-20
In naming something, I shape my understanding of it’s meaning.
When I determine an experience’s meaning, I set the course of my decisions.
Naming leads to meaning leads to decisions.
3 Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted. 4 In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. 5 And have you forgotten the exhortation that addresses you as sons?
son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord,
nor be weary when reproved by him.
6 For the Lord disciplines the one he loves,
and chastises every son whom he receives.”
7 It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons. For what son is there whom his father does not discipline? 8 If you are left without discipline, in which all have participated, then you are illegitimate children and not sons. 9 Besides this, we have had earthly fathers who disciplined us and we respected them. Shall we not much more be subject to the Father of spirits and live? 10 For they disciplined us for a short time as it seemed best to them, but he disciplines us for our good, that we may share his holiness. 11 For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it. Hebrews 12:3-11
The New International Version beautifully shapes the meaning of verse 7,
7 Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as his children.
The wise person names hardship as discipline.
Naming hardship “discipline” changes the meaning of the hardship.
- Hardship knows no relationship. Discipline is within the family relationship. Vs. 5
- Hardship has no heart. Discipline is from a heart of love. Vs. 6
- Hardship is not purposeful. Discipline serves the purpose of yielding the peaceful fruit of righteousness. Vs. 11
- Hardship is something that happens to me. Discipline is a training program that I enact. Vs. 11
You and I won’t waste this pandemic, we accept the assignment and empowerment to name, give meaning and to shape our decisions by understanding our current events as the loving discipline of our heavenly Father.
Maybe in the “discipline” of this pandemic, you realize:
- I have no or very little relationship with God through His Son Jesus.
- 2 For he says, “In a favorable time I listened to you,
and in a day of salvation I have helped you.”
Behold, now is the favorable time; behold, now is the day of salvation. 2 Corinthians 6:2
- 37 All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out. John 6:37
- 9 because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. Romans 10:9
- I have a relationship with God through His Son Jesus, yet I have unconfessed sin.
- 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9
- 16 Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.
- My focus has drifted from the God First life to which I am committed.
- 33 But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. Matthew 6:33
- 4 But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first. 5 Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent, and do the works you did at first. If not, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place, unless you repent.
We are assigned and empowered to name, give meaning and make decisions in this important season in world history.
For me, I receive this hardship as discipline from my Loving Heavenly Father.
At this time in my life, I place myself in strict training so that I don’t waste this pandemic, but produce the peaceful fruit of righteousness of Hebrews 12:11.