Posted February 10, 2014
My son, do not despise the Lord's discipline or be weary of his reproof, for the Lord reproves him whom he loves, as a father the son in whom he delights.
These two verses stand at the other extreme of the two verses prior (Proverbs 3:9-10), which said, “Honor the LORD with your wealth and with the firstfruits of all your produce; then your barns will be filled with plenty, and your vats will be bursting with wine.” Here, we find someone whose barns aren’t necessarily filled with plenty, but rather someone whose life is marked by hardship. The question arises: how do we find God in all seasons of life, both in plentiful ones and in painful ones? Ray Ortund wisely comments, “When life is sweet, trusting God with all our hearts feels unnecessary. When life is bitter, trusting God with all our hearts feels impossible. We need wisdom for those seasons in life when we are on top and for those seasons in life when nothing is going right. God is with us in both, with a wisdom that makes a positive difference.”
Whereas many people want to make the God-life out to be one that runs from glory to glory, often we forget that one of the main ways God grows us is precisely through difficult times, pruning, and discipline. This discipline isn’t a haphazard, erratic discipline just to remind us who’s in charge, but rather we learn that God disciplines us because He delights in us. Let me repeat that: Christian, God disciplines you because He delights in you. Amazing! How backwards we get this truth, and yet Hebrews 12:8 goes as far to say that if you are not disciplined, it’s a sign you’re not a child of God! For the Christian, discipline is not a sign of God’s angry abandonment, but rather His pursuing presence. Are you in a season marked by the loving heat of God’s refining fire? Press on and persevere! Let this season draw you closer to your loving Father and shape you to look more like Him. You are being disciplined by a loving Father who delights in you.
Song by Aaron Strumpel.
Artwork by David Yarde.