Hebrews 5:7-14 (NIV)
7 During the days of Jesus’ life on earth, he offered up prayers and petitions with fervent cries and tears to the one who could save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverent submission.
8 Son though he was, he learned obedience from what he suffered
9 and, once made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him
10 and was designated by God to be high priest in the order of Melchizedek.
11 We have much to say about this, but it is hard to make it clear to you because you no longer try to understand.
12 In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God’s word all over again. You need milk, not solid food!
13 Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness.
14 But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.
I just can`t stop to wonder in the ways God gets across His message. As I was going through these turmoil not knowing what to expect or do next, I came across movie about Jeremiah; the movie is based on the book of prophet Jeremiah with Patrick Dempsey. As I started watching it, I didn`t expect much because I thought it would be perverted scripture and plot, but to my surprise, all the details of the movie were right according to the events that took place during the prophecies of Jeremiah, and that movie really spoke to my heart. When I think about Jeremiah, I realize that not only did God start on him at a very early age, but most of his life was spent in prisons for the truth that He was saying to the people. The king kept sending him to jail and mud wholes for extended periods of time because nobody wanted to listen to the truth. God showed me how much Jeremiah struggled throughout his ministry because he had to do things against his will, and things that he suffered taught him obedience to God`s word. It is much the same way I suffer and struggle when going through my persecution by my husband and his family that I can relate to Jeremiah and understand that God is there for me regardless of whether I feel Him or not.
When I was reading the letter to Hebrews, this was an amazing reminder for me from God that even Jesus was taught obedience through His sufferings and cries. There are two important parts in this scripture which was crucial for me to refresh on while going through my sufferings and learning obedience to God.
The first point is: sufferings teach us obedience to God, and there is no way out of this given our fallen sinful nature. Throughout the Bible we can see that through the sufferings God conformed people to obey Him and to serve Him. Job had to suffer losing everything (Job 1-2), Manasseh had to go captive to Assyrians and suffer in order to submit to God (2 Chronicles 33:11-13), Paul lost his eye sight in order to accept Jesus (Acts 9), David`s child died after his adultery with Bathsheba, and through that suffering he turned to God with repentance (2 Samuel 12); the list goes on and on. We can see how God used different hardships in the lives of His servants and ministers in order to conform them into His image and make them obedient to His word.
The second important part of this scripture is us being able to digest “hard food”of His word once fed on His “milk”. Walk with the Lord produces spiritual maturity and obedience produces maturity, which God uses in return for His glory and ministries.
Paul would have never been able to accept Jesus the way he was if he didn`t go through those horrible 3 days of not seeing and being blinded by God`s light. Manasseh would have never repented if he didn`t go through this humbling experience of physical pain and humiliation being a king and going to captivity. The same thing goes for me. I would have never matured and continued to grow if I didn`t undergo through these sufferings because I can see more and more God`s mercy and love through even small victories.
It all comes down to what I choose to believe and obey. It is clearly said here in Hebrews that even Jesus cried and suffered to be obedient to God, but in the end Lord rewarded Him by making Him the Highest Priest. And it`s true with all the trials- they are always followed by abundant blessings. God is faithful, and He is true, so from what I know and can see in scriptures, He always blessed those who stood up for Him to the end. Job received many times more in his possessions that what he had in the beginning, Manasseh was returned home, David was still a king, Paul`s eye sight returned to him and he was able to serve the Lord for many more years, Esther was able to save her people and stay the queen, Ruth was able to save her mother-on-law`s name and become prosperous, Naomi (Ruth`s mother-in-law) was blessed with the grandchildren bore by Ruth, and the list goes on and on. God always blesses those who stay obedient to His word and stay to the end.
Our God also desires for us to keep moving in growth, so we could feed on His spiritual food and not just milk alone. Paul is rebuking here in the lack of spiritual growth by saying that instead of them being teachers by now, they continue to feed off the milk (verse 12). This happens a lot with the Christians who continue to live a carnal life- they lack spiritual growth, and that lack of growth gradually and redundantly brings them to backsliding and continuous sinning.
I had to take a note of that for myself because undergoing this much pressure and hardships, it`s too easy for me to fall into my old ways of thinking and start doubting everything God is doing or not doing. I have to catch my thoughts in constant doubts and fears of endless probabilities ending not in my favor. When that happens, I start praying and praising God for all his goodness and everything He is doing. I will look at the promises and not at my circumstances, and God will be faithful to meet me there.
I think it`s important for us to take heart on the fact that if even Jesus went through these hardships and sufferings in order to learn obedience necessary to carry out God`s plan to the end, than we, as rebellious as we tend to be, all the more have to undergo through this “military training” in order to be conformed into the image of our Lord and Savior.
I urge you to seek for more and to seek to grow spiritually, so you are able to digest “hard meals” instead of leaning on milk which will end one of these days just like Manna ended in the desert for Israelites when they chose to continue to rebel against God and lacked their spiritual growth. God will bless those who seek Him and desire more of Him.