And Elihu continued, and said:
“Behold, God is mighty, and does not despise any;
he is mighty in strength of understanding.
He does not keep the wicked alive,
but gives the afflicted their right.
He does not withdraw his eyes from the righteous,
but with kings on the throne
he sets them forever, and they are exalted.
And if they are bound in chains
and caught in the cords of affliction,
then he declares to them their work
and their transgressions, that they are behaving arrogantly.
He opens their ears to instruction
and commands that they return from iniquity.
If they listen and serve him,
they complete their days in prosperity,
and their years in pleasantness.
But if they do not listen, they perish by the sword
and die without knowledge. Job 36:1, 5-12 ESV
It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons. For what son is there whom his father does not discipline? If you are left without discipline, in which all have participated, then you are illegitimate children and not sons. Besides 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? For 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. For 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 12:7-11 ESV
Bud, Andy, and Jim wanted to go to the park to play basketball. Bud and Jim had to ask their parents first. If they didn’t tell their parents where they were going, they would be disciplined. Bud would not be allowed to go anywhere except school without his parents for three days. Jim would have to do a chore or two around the house. Andy didn’t have to ask his parents. “My parents don’t care what I do,” he bragged. Bud and Jim kind of wished their parents were like that. They thought Andy was lucky. But really, they were the lucky ones. Parents who discipline their children show that they love them. If parents never discipline their children, it often means they really don’t care about them.
God, our heavenly father, also disciplines his children. Elihu tried to explain that to Job. If we have troubles and hurts, it’s sometimes God’s way of making us stronger, better, and more trusting. If God never allowed us to have any trouble, we would probably not be very strong Christians. We might be selfish and not care about other people’s problems. We might not learn to trust God.
When we have problems, we might think that it isn’t fair. Or we might think God is punishing us for something we did wrong. But Jesus took all our punishment when he died on the cross. Because of that, we can always be sure we are God’s children. God doesn’t need to punish us to pay us back for our sins, but our problems can sometimes be God’s disciplining us like loving parents do, helping us become closer to him and more like Jesus, our Savior.
Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for making us your children. Help us to trust you to know what’s best for us. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.