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. Proverbs 3:11-12 ESV
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 12:9-11 ESV
There’s a fable by Aesop that tells about a boy who stole a lesson book from one of his schoolmates and took it home to his mother. She complimented him for stealing instead of punishing him. Another time he stole a cloak and brought it home, and again she encouraged him in his behavior instead of punishing him. He kept on stealing things until when he was a young man he was caught in the act of stealing something big, and the authorities tied his hands and were leading him away to be put to death when he saw his mother. She was crying, and he asked if he could stop and whisper something in her ear. The let him do this, but instead he bit off her ear! She started to yell at him for doing such a terrible thing, but he said that if she had disciplined him when he first started stealing, he never would have become a thief and he wouldn’t be on his way to death.
Most mothers and fathers aren’t like the mother in this story. Parents usually love their children very much, and they know that when they love their children they need to teach them what is right and what is wrong and how to behave well. Sometimes teaching them involves discipline, which isn’t fun for the kids or the parents, but it’s necessary. Children sometimes think their parents are being mean, but almost always the parents are doing what they think is best to teach their kids how to be good people and to live good lives.
Parents might make mistakes now and then, but God, our Heavenly Father, never makes mistakes. It might seem sometimes that God allows more trouble into our lives than is fair, or than we can handle. We wonder what God is doing or if he really loves us when he lets bad things happen to us. We can’t always know why God lets things happen the way they do, but we do know that God loves us very much and that he is always working through the things that happen in our lives to teach us and train us to be good and strong Christians.
Sometimes it might feel as if God is angry with us and punishing us for our sins, but we never have to worry about that. Jesus took all our sins to the cross with him, and he paid for them completely there. Whatever happens, we can be completely sure of God’s love and forgiveness because of what Jesus did for us.
Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for your love and forgiveness. Please give us strength and comfort so that we learn and grow from the discipline you give us. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.