In early 1865, hundreds of thousands of men from the North were being drafted into the Union Army to help finally bring an end to the war. President Abraham Lincoln’s own son Robert was now also being sent. Lincoln’s wife Mary did NOT want him to go. She said, “I am so frightened he may never come back to us!” But Lincoln replied, “Many a poor mother, Mary, has made this sacrifice …”. After sending so many others off to war, Lincoln could hardly exempt his own son. Just because he was the President’s son, didn’t mean he didn’t have to go to war. (Sandburg, Abraham Lincoln, The Prairie Years and the War Years, p. 669)
And so it is with us. Just because we are God’s children, does not mean we are somehow “exempt” from various sufferings. In fact, it may rather GUARANTEE them — because God will purposefully use these difficulties to grow us spiritually, and teach us important things He needs us to learn.
Hebrews 5:8, speaking of Jesus’ time here on earth, says, “although He was a Son, He learned obedience from the things which He suffered.” Being God’s Son did not “exempt” Jesus from sufferings — and neither does being His child exempt US! Even though we are God’s children, we will suffer in His will, because we will “learn obedience” from it.
Among other things, this means just because you are suffering, does NOT mean that you are not God’s child — or that you are not in His will. Sometimes when we face difficulties we might be tempted to think, “Perhaps I am not in God’s will? Perhaps He is punishing me?” But this is not necessarily so. God’s children, right in the center of His perfect will, may suffer. Just like Jesus, “although (you) are a son, (you) are learning obedience from the things which (you) are suffering.”
— So suffering doesn’t mean you aren’t God’s child.
— Suffering does not mean you aren’t in His will.
— It just means that God has chosen to use what you are going through to teach you something very important. So walk with God through that difficult time in your life, and be sure to learn the important spiritual lesson(s) your Heavenly Father intends to teach you through it!