Spiritual Growth; December 16, 2022

Hebrews 5:8 Although he was a son, he learned obedience from what he suffered.

This verse reinforces the humanity of Jesus. Even for Him, total obedience to the Father didn’t come automatically! This doesn’t answer such questions as “the age of accountability,” but it makes clear that the junk we go through isn’t meaningless. I’m reminded of some of the things I was put through in Basic Training in the Army. They may have strengthened my muscles or improved my reflexes, but above and beyond that they taught me to obey orders and work with the group. Such lessons aren’t learned instantaneously. The Japanese in this verse specifies, “the many things He suffered.” Just as in the Army, faster learning means less suffering! We indeed go through a lot, but we don’t have it any worse than Jesus did. When we encounter suffering, the natural tendency is to say, “Why?” This verse should help us say, “Thank You, Lord, for this further training.”

As a family, we are in the middle of a practicum in this. My son-in-law and grandsons were supposed to arrive in Omura last night, but a late arrival in Narita and delays in immigration and customs made them miss their flight from Haneda. They had a lot of exhaustion and we all had a lot of stress, but as a result they are experiencing a capsule hotel in Haneda, which is a uniquely Japanese thing I have never experienced! On a more serious note, my wife is struggling with recovery from her third major back surgery, and is often frustrated at what she cannot do, when she is so used to being active in helping others. That too has unique blessings, even if we don’t perceive them all at the moment. The longer I live, the more I realize that God wastes nothing, but indeed, as Paul said, “In all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28) I need to rest in that assurance, and encourage those around me to do the same.

Father, thank You for this reminder. You’d think I wouldn’t need it, after all these years! Thank You for Your patience with me, and with all of us. Help us all keep growing, to, as Paul said, “press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called [us] heavenward in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 3:14) Thank You. Praise God!

About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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