Hebrews 5:7-8 "In the days of his flesh, Jesus offered up prayers and supplications,with loud cries and tears, to him who was able to save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverence. Although he was a son, he learned obedience through what he suffered."
Institutes Book 3, Chapter 8, Section 4, Part b
In this section, Calvin is describing how God uses our own experience of the cross (personal suffering) to train us in patience and obedience. He writes that our experience of the cross is the occasion that God uses to stir up the virtues which he gives to believers. We are, "instructed by the cross to obey, because thus they are taught to live, not according to their own whim but according to God's will. Obviously, if everything went according to their own liking, they would not know what it is to follow God."
Obedience is different than agreement. If I do what God tells me only when it seems profitable or when it feels pleasant, then I am not yet obeying. I might as well be co-director of my own life. But when I do God's will at a time when it does not seem profitable or pleasant, then that is obedience - not just agreement, but obedience. In that situation it is clear who is in control. God.
Suffering is a great place to learn whether we are obeying or merely agreeing. It reveals our motivations and demonstrates who is Lord of our life. For that reason, we learn obedience in suffering.
In what parts of your life are you called to obey God - even in the midst of difficulty?
How are is God using your own cross to teach you obedience?