Tidings for Tuesday

For whom the Lord loveth, He chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom He receiveth. Hebrews 12:6

You hear them, and often see them, almost every time you go shopping. Some child will throw a screaming fit because his or her parent doesn’t want to buy the candy or toy that the child wants. In most cases, the parent gives in to the child, to silence the embarrassing racket, and the shoppers and staff around them shake their heads in disgust. Everybody knows that such children misbehave because they have not been chastened. Their misbehaviour brings no pleasure – only shame – to their parents. Wise parents will discipline a child for such misbehaviour, to make sure it doesn’t happen again. Out of love for the child, a wise parent will take action to correct inappropriate behaviour. God also disciplines His children when we misbehave. But He chastens us for other reasons as well.

The God Who knows all about us surely knows when we deserve to be corrected. He understands our motives better than parents understand their children’s motives, and His correction is always just and perfect. His correction is not from any desire to make us suffer or to repress us. No, just like a wise earthly parent, He acts in love, to remove from us that behaviour that is not appropriate for His child. Without God’s chastening, God’s children would act as foolish as an undisciplined child in a candy store. We need God’s hand to make us behave so as not to bring shame on our Lord and on ourselves.

But sometimes we see Christians who are enduring hard situations and painful experiences, and we can’t understand why. We see such a Christian who has a good testimony, a zeal in the Gospel, and apparently is doing well spiritually, and we wonder that God allows such a Christian to endure so much. This may well be a case where God is not acting in correction, but in refining the gold. The Lord loves to teach His people lessons to bring them more into His image. Sometimes, He allows us to encounter problems so that we will have the experience to help others when they encounter the same problems. Sometimes, He needs us to learn more about patience, more about trusting Him, more about showing love and compassion to others. God is not ‘spanking’ us for misbehaving, He is shaping us for our good and for His glory.

Although we might not like to be chastened, we should take it as proof that the Lord loves us. And if we love Him, we will accept the discipline graciously, and let it do its good work in us. – Jim MacIntosh

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