Read Hebrews 12:1-29
“My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline, and do not lose heart when he rebukes you, because the Lord disciplines those he loves, and he punishes everyone he accepts as a son” (vv. 5, 6).
In one of my encounters with people over the years, I couldn’t believe the disrespect with which a young woman in her late teens treated me. It exceeded anything I have experienced to this point in my life. The father was in close proximity when it happened. So, how did I respond? I did not reprimand her. After all, she was not my daughter. I just tried to return kindness to her.
If she had been one of my children, there would have been a serious conversation designed to help her understand how to treat others. You see, I love my children, and I want to see them become all that God desires of them.
That is part of the rationale used by the author of Hebrews to help us understand how God interacts with us. His discipline, you see, is an extension of His love and proof that we are truly His children. His love is not only felt in the warm embrace of sin forgiven. It is also experienced in the challenging moments of sin exposed. It is also just as real in life’s threatening storms as it is in life’s beautiful sunsets. He uses those unwanted experiences to knock off rough edges and to refine us so that we become the people He wants.
Our challenge, then, is to endure in times of discipline and difficulty. Don’t jettison your faith and faithfulness because the challenges make you feel that God is distant. Instead, hold on tighter, because those very issues are evidence of God’s loving presence as your Father.