Cause and effect. We see this principle all around us. A great example is seen throughout the Back to the Future movies. Young Marty is encouraged not to interact with anyone in the past because it could possibly dramatically alter the future. In Scripture we see the principle of cause and effect at work as well. God tells His people if you will obey the effect will be blessings. But if you disobey, there will be consequences.
One example of this is seen in Proverbs 3. The author states the importance of not forsaking the commandments of God, honoring the Lord, trusting in Him, and fearing Him. The effect of these actions are blessings. These blessings may come in the form of financial provision, favor with others, long life and good health. These are obviously not guarantees, but they are a general principle for life. A person that is devoted to obediently following Jesus will naturally bypass much of the heartache, pain, and consequences of a life that is lived in rebellion to God.
But, we know from Scripture and from life experiences that a follower of Jesus is not exempt from suffering. Christians still have financial struggles, they battle cancer, and their homes are robbed.
In order to effectively process these moments of suffering we must continue our reading of Proverbs 3. In verses 11 and 12 the author reminds the reader to not forsake the discipline of the Lord. This idea of discipline is more in line with the concept of training. Discipline in this context is the process by which God allows trials, difficulties, and hardships into our lives to refine our faith. These times are designed to refine and strengthen our faith. God is concerned more with the depth, maturity, and strength of our faith than He is our comfort.
And so, we are called to remember that God is working everything in our lives for our good and His glory. And we patiently trust God’s discipline in our lives knowing that He loves us as His children.