“No chastening for the moment seems enjoyable, but painful. But afterwards, to those who have been trained by it, it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness” (Hebrews 12:11).
In the middle of the pain, no one enjoys the experience. Only in looking back–at some distant day–do you see how God used it.
Life is understood only in looking backward, the saying goes. But it must be lived going forward.
It doesn’t work that way for everyone, Hebrews 12:11 is implying. For some, the trials are fatal. It just depends. “To those who have been trained by it” surely means “the people who have learned to give their woes to the Lord for His purposes.”
We can wallow in our defeat, be chained in despair by our sorrows and troubles, or we can rise above them by putting our trust in the Savior and finding His purposes.
In her book Character, Gail Sheehan tells of the lengthy rehabilitation Bob Dole endured after his World War II injury. (German machine gunfire hit him in the upper back and right arm. Medics gave him the largest possible dose of morphine, then wrote “M” (for morphine) on his forehead with his own blood, so no one who found him would give him a second, fatal dose.) Dole went through multiple surgeries and experienced recurring blood clots, life-threatening infections, and long periods of recuperation and therapy.
An interviewer once asked Senator Dole, “How did this delay your career plans?”