Why Does God Discipline His Children?
9Besides this, we have had earthly fathers who disciplined us and we respected them. Shall we not much more be subject to the Father of spirits and live? 10For they disciplined us for a short time as it seemed best to them, but he disciplines us for our good, that we may share his holiness. 11For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it. —Hebrews 12:9-11
A trial is like a bounced check. You feel stuck with a problem that you don’t have the resources to solve. The temptation is to rant to God, “Do you see me over here, God? Do you see that I don’t have what it takes to get through this? Are You paying attention? I’m about to bounce a lot of checks here. I don’t have the resources. I don’t have it emotionally. You’re rattling my faith, God. Don’t leave me in this mess.”
Those expressions of desperation you feel so awful about are in fact the exact truth God has been trying to bring to your attention: You flat out don’t have the resources. He wants you to come to realize what He’s known to be true all along: you are in way over your head. God is taking you to a new level of dependence and He knows what He’s doing.
Why does the Lord discipline me? Hebrews 12:6a says, “For the Lord disciplines the one He loves.” Well, there you go. He disciplines you because He loves you.
You might be tempted to think, “Well, if You loved me, God, you wouldn’t leave me over here with empty pockets and bounced checks.”
But far from abandoning us when we’re going through difficult trials, God moves toward us. Far from folding His arms; God is rolling up His sleeves. He’s getting ready to do something in your life that you haven’t previously been willing to let Him do. And He moves toward you. Isn’t that good news? God moves toward you. In fact, trials are proof of love.
Never forget this: The motivation for God’s action in allowing your life to become so hard is love. He loves you. His eyes are upon you. His attention is toward you. All of His thoughts are about you. The goal of all your pain is your restoration to a deeper sense of His love. But keep in mind that this is biblical love—a love that is willing to take you through a valley to get you to a hilltop. No pseudo-solutions or quick-fixes with God. He is going for change in you at the deepest and most lasting level.—James MacDonald
· When have I recently been reminded of the scarcity of personal resources for overcoming significant challenges in my life?
· What steps have I taken to exercise greater dependence on God during difficulties?
Prayer: Heavenly Father, I am so grateful to Your Son for directing me to present my needs and life to You under the authority of His name. And thank You for treating me as a father would, including the times of discipline You have not hesitated to apply to my life. Honestly, I don’t look forward to the pain and discomfort, but I do anticipate the gain You will bring about in my life through them, so I’m trusting You as I step forward. In Jesus’ name, Amen.