Wednesday, September 9, 2009
4-11In 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 handsomely, for it's the well-trained who find themselves mature in their relationship with God.
(Taken from Hebrews 12 in The Message)
We must get it into our thick skulls that the periodic tests are working out into trust, confidence, experience, character and a certain knowing of God's voice. The pain comes with the bout of sickness, the disfavour of the supervisor at work, the unanticipated expense, the good intentions totally misunderstood, the rebellion in one's children, the plumbing breakdown in the basement. The list of challenges is endless.
And there is the Accuser leaning over your shoulder and suggesting that 'you really must have disappointed God for all this to be happening'. But it is not punishment. It is training. (Unless of course the Holy Spirit has been banging on your door about some area of persistent sin.)
Remember all the wonderful promises given to the Seven Churches in the early chapters of the Revelation. They are promises to "him that overcometh". They are not promises to "him that breezeth through".