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
“There are two things about the Gospel – believe it and behave it.”
Susanna Annesley Wesley was born in London on January 20, 1669, as a pastor’s daughter and as the youngest of 25 children. Her experiences growing up, then, prepared her both for life as a pastor’s wife and life as a mother. Susanna was homeschooled and was often taught by friends of her well-respected father.
One of these young tutors was Samuel Wesley. When Susanna was 20 years old, she and Samuel got married. When Samuel Wesley became a preacher, Susanna entered the ministry with him, excited about the things of God. Life in the ministry, however, was harder than Susanna expected. Deism – a religious system which denies that Jesus Christ is God alone – was popular, and made it difficult for the Wesleys to teach the Gospel of the Bible.
Despite their hardships, Susanna lived for Christ. She gave birth to 19 children during her lifetime, although only nine of them lived to be adults. Two of her children, John and Charles, would grow up to be famous preachers and writers. Her influence in their lives was important!
Susanna’s place in Christian history is marked by two choices she made: First of all, she determined to have time alone with God every day. When she wanted to pray, she would take her apron and pull it over her face and her children knew that she was not to be disturbed.
Second, Susanna determined that she wanted God to use her, no matter how large or small the task. She often said, “I am content to fill a little space if God be glorified.”
She once wrote this about how important she had come to believe that her time with God ought to be:
I will tell you what rule I observed when I was young and too much addicted to childish diversions – never to spend more time in mere recreation in one day than I spent in private religious devotions.
Do you spend as much time with God as you should? How devoted are you to entertainment and recreation? Do these things help to shape you into a Gospel-living person that God will use to glorify Himself? Are you believing and behaving the Gospel in your everyday life?
Psalm 119:11 – Your word I have hidden in my heart, that I might not sin against You.