A couple of weeks ago this Scripture was one of the readings at Mass.
Brothers and sisters,
You have forgotten the exhortation addressed to you as children:
“My son, do not disdain the discipline of the Lord
or lose heart when reproved by him;
for whom the Lord loves, he disciplines;
he scourges every son he acknowledges.”
Endure your trials as “discipline”;
God treats you as sons.
For what “son” is there whom his father does not discipline?
At the time,
all discipline seems a cause not for joy but for pain,
yet later it brings the peaceful fruit of righteousness
to those who are trained by it.
So strengthen your drooping hands and your weak knees.
Make straight paths for your feet,
that what is lame may not be disjointed but healed.
I so needed this because when you suffer you just cannot see past the pain at times. But St Paul had to remind the disciples of their own history, their own Scriptures because it is inevitable to wonder about God and his goodness when you experience the ugly and pain. I absolutely love how it says at the end (in my own translation), “Woman up! Shoulders back, head up!”The cross teaches us that we are so vulnerable and weak, and dependent. Yet at the same time, just by living it and suffering through it there is a strength that occurs and it requires courage to handle it and not to become bitter, angry, jaded and cynical.
That is the choice we have: either we can resent the cross and became angry that we have to suffer or we can say “yes” to the cross and begin to be trained by it. Now, in my own experience I have tried both actually. At the beginning of my “discipline” I fought with everything that I had against it. I doubted whether I wanted to participate in a religion that places the Cross as the defining principle of its Faith. And the thing is, I resented it, but the pain didn’t go away just because I didn’t want it! No. The pain continued and I realized that I had a choice. I could fight it and become disillusioned and cynical or I could give in and start learning from what I have since dubbed “Sister Suffering.” And the minute I gave in and said “yes,” a very strange thing began to occur. I began to experience “the peace which surpasses all understanding.” And I am beginning to understand how one can have inner peace even while living through a terrible situation.