My husband and I went to a get-together recently where there were many people, including little children. As I watched the kids playing together, I was struck by how different two of the little girls were. Both of them were the same age, but one was loud, demanding, and rather rude. The other was well-behaved, sweet, and obedient.
Why were these two girls, both the same age, so different?
These girls had very opposite upbringings. One got everything she wanted, the other one was brought up by parents who disciplined and trained her. I left feeling sorry for the girl who got everything she wanted. Her life is going to be so much harder in the long run because of the lack of discipline she is receiving as a child.
Very shortly after that experience, I was reading Hebrews and came across these verses:
My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline, and do not lose heart when He rebukes you, because the Lord disciplines the one He loves, and He chastens everyone He accepts as His son…No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it. | Hebrews 2:5-6, 11
It got me thinking: How does God discipline us, His children?
We have to remember that discipline and punishment are different. While punishment is a penalty for doing something wrong, discipline is training someone to do right, often using punishment to correct disobedience.
What does God’s discipline look like? It depends on what He wants to teach us. He might allow us to go through a difficult financial time to teach us trust. Or a long time of waiting for something that we desperately want to teach us patience. Or maybe it is a season of loss, to teach us complete dependence on Him. Whatever it is, it’s important that we recognize that He does these things because He LOVES us. He wants us to learn to obey Him and love Him fully. And what does He promise to those who endure? Righteousness and peace!
No one wants to go through discipline. It’s painful, uncomfortable, and can feel unbearable at times. If you are going through a dry and difficult season, don’t lose heart. Press on, there is joy ahead!
God disciplines us for our good, in order that we may share in his holiness. | Hebrews 12:10