God Disciplines His Children in Love
"And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him. For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth." (Hebrews 12:5-6)
"Susan!" yelled Grandpa from where he stood at the living room window. "The kids are outside playing with matches!"
Willy and Ellie heard him yell, but they did not have enough time to clean up the mess before Mom rushed outside to where they'd been hunched over the pile of kindling and matches.
"William! Ellen! What are you doing? You know you're not supposed to play with fire!"
A little embarrassed, they scattered the little pile and handed Mom the matches.
"We learned safety rules, Mom. We were being responsible. I'm ten years old!" Willy felt like maybe it should not be that big a deal. He wasn't a baby. He even helped Grandpa with the fireplace sometimes, pumping the bellows and poking the logs. He had carried his fair share of firewood from the general store. Surely he was old enough to be able to build a little fire if he was careful about it.
"It was sort of an experiment," Ellie tried to explain. "It didn't work in the basement so we came outside."
"The basement? Where in the basement?" Mom asked.
"We weren't doing fires in the basement, really. We were just melting little caves in the styrofoam panels in the basement bathroom," said Willy. "But there's more oxygen out here, and oxygen helps you build real fires. We were going to make a little campfire with two sticks like Boy Scouts do, but the sticks wouldn't light no matter how fast we rubbed them together, so we thought matches would help."
But there was no more talking then. Mom marched them over to the trash burning barrel and said, "Wait here." She left for a moment and came back with her arms full of styrofoam paneling from the new bathroom project Grandpa had been working on.
"I saw the little holes you melted in the panels down there," she said. "We all need to thank God for protecting you." She dumped the styrofoam into the barrel and stood back, opening a matchbook. "I want you to both to see something."
She lit one match and dropped it into the barrel of styrofoam. Willie rolled his eyes. He did not know what Mom was so worried and upset about.
Suddenly, flames sprang up high and they all three had to step back from the barrel because the heat was so great. In a minute or so, all the styrofoam (and everything else in the barrel) was gone. And Willie wasn't rolling his eyes anymore.
Mom got down so that her face was even with theirs. "Styrofoam is extremely flammable," she said. "That means that you came very close to burning down our whole house."
Ellie was sobbing, and tears were even leaking out of Willy's eyes.
Mom pulled them closer. "The next time you are tempted to break a rule you don't understand," she said, "please come and talk it over with us first. We have these rules because we love you."
Sometimes we think the authorities in our lives make us follow foolish rules. Willy thought his mom was overreacting. After all, he was a smart kid and they were being really careful! But his mom knew something he did not know.
God is all-knowing, and He is all-loving. We do not always understand the reasons behind all His laws, either, but we can know from the Bible that He disciplines us because He loves us. The Bible makes it clear that we are not to "despise" or "regard lightly" the discipline of the Lord. We ought to take it seriously and to be grateful for it. God's discipline is proof that He loves us as His own children.
God disciplines His children for His glory and their best good.
» Do I need to ask God's forgiveness for sinning against Him?
» How do I respond when I "get in trouble" with God?
» How should God's love motivate me to think before I give in to temptations?
Truth In Real Life