Good morning. It is Friday, March 25, 2022. Jeanette Stark here.
I spent last weekend with my mom, and we did a bit of reminiscing. I was always pushing my boundaries, even as a very young child.
I remember getting a kitten. We lived on Williams Highway, which even in the 60’s was a busy road. I was told not to take my kitten outside. I can remember not really getting why I would not be allowed to do that, not to mention I really wanted to show my neighbor. As I headed out of the house, kitten in my hands, a log truck drove by. The noise scared that little kitten and it scratched me as it made its escape out of the safety of my arms. I remember my mom telling me that the cuts were punishment enough. It hurt.
My dad was a beekeeper. I begged him to be allowed to take a bee to show-in-tell. I can remember him preparing a quart size mason jar, puncturing holes in the lid and giving me the stern warning: “Do not take the lid off” Well of course, in all my kindergarten knowledge I knew it would be okay. As soon as the lid was off, that bee began crawling up the side of the jar. In my haste to get the lid back on, I squished it, killing it. I was heart broken that I had hurt one of God’s creatures.
I think I shared the story of the piano keys. My parents were janitors at our church. I was given the privilege of spraying pledge on the piano’s wood and making it clean and shiny. I did however have the warning: “Do not spray the piano keys.” Once again, knowing much more at the age of 4 or 5 than my mother knew, I reasoned that if the pledge made the wood shiny and clean it would do the same for the keys. That weekend at church our pianist had a very difficult time playing for song service as her fingers were slipping and sliding all over those keys. As soon as my mom found out, she took my down to the basement to one of the empty classrooms and spanked me. I had it coming.
I remember having to pick my own switch. I remember standing in the corner with my nose against the wall. I was a very disobedient child. But I always felt loved. My parents never yelled at me. Discipline was done in a calm, but stern voice and I always knew I deserved what was coming. My parents disciplined me because they loved me and wanted me to learn from my mistakes.
In the same way God disciplines us.
Hebrews 12:5-6 tell us, “…My son, do not despise the chastening (discipline) of the Lord, nor be discouraged when you are rebuked by Him; for whom the Lord loves He chastens…” NKJV
We discipline our children because we want them to know right from wrong. We want them to grow to be respectful and well-disciplined adults. We discipline because we love them. It is the same with our Heavenly Father.
Proverbs 3:11-14 says, “My son, do not despise the chastening of the Lord, nor detest His correction; for whom the Lord loves He corrects, just as a father the son in whom he delights. Happy is the man who finds wisdom, and the man who gains understanding; for her proceeds are better than the profits of silver, and her gain than fine gold.” NKJV
Punishment or disciplinary actions are not pleasant, but we do it for the good of the child. So does our Abba.
If we go back to Hebrews chapter 12, we see why God disciplines. Verse 10 tells us that God disciplines us so “that we may be partakers of His holiness.”
Perhaps you feel like you are in a season of discipline. Perhaps you feel God is against you. Perhaps you feel He is far away and does not care. Perhaps you have returned to old sinful habits and turned your back on God and His blessings. Please remember, you are a child of God. He loves you! He wants what is best for you! He is always working toward your eternal salvation. He wants to restore you, not destroy you. Turn back to Him. Learn the lesson at hand. If you are not sure, ask Him to reveal to you what it is that you need to change. He is faithful to answer.
I love The Message version of Hebrews 12:4-11, “In this all-out match against sin, others have suffered far worse than you, to say nothing of what Jesus went through—all that bloodshed! So don’t feel sorry for yourselves. Or have you forgotten how good parents treat children, and that God regards you as his children? My dear child, don’t shrug off God’s discipline, but don’t be crushed by it either. It’s the child he loves that he disciplines; the child he embraces, he also corrects. God is educating you; that’s why you must never drop out. He’s treating you as dear children. This trouble you’re in isn’t punishment; it’s training, the normal experience of children. Only irresponsible parents leave children to fend for themselves. Would you prefer an irresponsible God? We respect our own parents for training and not spoiling us, so why not embrace God’s training so we can truly live? While we were children, our parents did what seemed best to them. But God is doing what is best for us, training us to live God’s holy best. At the time, discipline isn’t much fun. It always feels like it’s going against the grain. Later, of course, it pays off big-time, for it’s the well-trained who find themselves mature in their relationship with God.”
Look at it as training. God wants us with Him! He desires that everyone be saved!
1 Timothy 2:3-4 “For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.” NKJV
Just like that 5-year-old me, sometimes we think we know better than an all-knowing God. But we do not. The Bible tells us that His ways are higher. We cannot begin to understand.
“For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,” says the Lord. “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts.” Isaiah 55:8-9 NKJV
It really is up to us. He will not force the issue, but He will try to convince you that His ways are better. As long as you have breath, He will try.