11 Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful; nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.
There are different ways Christians can react to divine discipline:
—despise it by treating it with disregard
—become defeated and discouraged by it
—grow by it
The word “now” introduces a summary of verses 4–10. When a believer undergoes divine discipline, it is not a pleasant experience.
no chastening seems to be joyful for the present,
“For the present” means while discipline continues.
but painful [grievous];
When God disciplines us, it not a pleasant experience but painful. No one relishes the idea of experiencing pain through discipline. What “seems” to be true often is not. Divine discipline has the immediate appearance of being joyless and full of pain. It appears to do us harm. This illusion can put scales on our view of things. This is a human-viewpoint perception of things, not divine viewpoint. It is a “present” way of looking at what God is doing with our lives.
There is a tendency to judge things confined to the short term.
The principle of divine discipline might appear pious to those who undergo trials. It may sound like pie in the sky. No, it is indeed “grievous.” That is the stark reality. It is the nature of God’s discipline to be unpleasant. However, dissonance is what causes change in core values.
God does not ask Christians to rejoice in pain itself; that is a masochistic viewpoint. We rejoice despite discipline and view it as God’s means of developing our Christian lives.
We all tend to make short-term judgments about important matters. Short-term thinking is often the worst way to make a judgment. Human viewpoint and divine viewpoint are dramatically different perspectives (2 Cor 4:17, 18). Human viewpoint puts us in too close a stance to gain the right perspective.
The right perspective is divine viewpoint, or God’s overarching plan for our reason for existence in time. God says, “My thoughts are not your thoughts and My ways are not your ways” (Isaiah 55:8). Even in our human perspective, when we look back on a problem, we see it in a different light. We can later see why we went through that problem. The problem is that we are impatient with God. It is a trust or faith issue that we have with Him. We are in no position to judge what God is doing if we submit to joylessness and pain as the determining factor of our judgment. In this case, we yield to what “seems” rather than to what is real from God’s perspective. Life is grievous and without meaning to us in this kind of attitude. We can transcend this morass only by God’s enablement, which we exercise by faith.
To “wait patiently” for God to work is an act of faith (Ps 37:7). We wait for Him to work. We let nothing deter us from perseverance in God’s plan.