Is this a familiar story? It feels like I'm remembering it from a classic war movie, but I'm not sure. Maybe from Sands of Iwo Jima.
Here's the story. A young man joins the army and arrives at basic training. It feels like months of hell, since the tough, demanding drill sergeant is on his case all day and all night; telling him to run faster, keep going, clean his rifle faster, try harder and never give up. He endures, telling himself that once basic training is over he hopes never to see this brutal taskmaster of a sergeant again. He finally makes it through training and goes into battle. In the reality of combat, he realizes the necessity of all the drill sergeant had insisted he learn. The sergeant wasn't overly demanding at all, he knew what skills soldiers really needed. Then finally the soldier meets his former drill sergeant and thanks him for being so tough on him in boot camp.
Is the Holy Spirit is like this drill sergeant? He knows we have far to grow in Christlikeness and that we won't be thoroughly happy anywhere short of Christlikeness. He doesn't shout at and insult us, like a stereotypical drill sergeant. But there is a lot we have to learn and he faithfully keeps at us to not stop learning. One day, we'll appreciate all we have learned. Maybe we already appreciate things we have learned, even though learning them was far from present at the time. Hebrews 12 reminds us that God disciplines those he loves, let us be properly appreciative of God's discipline.