The book of Hebrews clearly shows the correlation between suffering and the learning of obedience. The writer declares that Christ was perfected as the author of salvation through sufferings (Heb. 2:10) and that he “learned obedience by the things which he suffered” (Heb. 5:9). The writer exhorts the readers to follow Jesus’ example in chapter 12. He urges them to be perfected in righteousness as they face growing affliction (Heb. 12:1-13).
While the experience of human suffering is universal, the lessons learned from it are not. Whether young or old, rich or poor, righteous or wicked, all of us experience suffering. The reaction we have to such experiences determines whether or not we learn obedience through the things suffered. The same episode may result in a determination furthering obedience or a discouragement furthering rejection of God’s will. The difference in reactions is not brought about by dissimilar events, but by dissimilar hearts.