“Do not withhold discipline from a child;
if you strike him with a rod, he will not die.
If you strike him with the rod,
you will save his soul from Sheol.” (Proverbs 23:13-14)
When I was a kid, I used to compare my mom and dad on how they disciplined me. My mom never spared the rod and I was constantly at the end of it. On the other hand, I only remembered my father using it once, when I spoke ill words towards my mom. I wasn’t the easiest of kids because I liked defending my rights or what I thought my rights were. And, although my parents would constantly reassure me that they did it out of love and concern for my future, I just didn’t understand the idea of beating your own child. It felt brutal and unjust for me. But, I grew up well and unscathed because of those beatings.
Then, I look at God and how He disciplines me.
In my perspective, He’s way, way more brutal than my parents. He does not physically spank me or He might have a few times, I do not know for sure. But the pain is so palpable in every inch of my being that I can do nothing but to rely on Him. The thing is, I’m still stubborn like a kid. I still don’t want to listen. I still want things done my own way. And, I like being in-charge of my own life. I’m a hardheaded adult.
So, I’ve been subjected to a lot of pruning and character building. Seasons that were so painful, I can only cling to my dear Lord for my dear life. Seasons that made me pray and plead, fast and meditate on the Word. Seasons that pushed me to totally surrender every bit of control I thought I have in my life. And in those moments, I learned that the Almighty Father just wants the best for me. It might not be convenient, but that’s the least of His concerns. Because He has gone ahead of us, He sees what needs to be done through, in and for me. And, it’s amazing that even in our moments of unfaithfulness and unbelief, God is still a caring Father. A Father who provides shelter in the storms and bread in our times of hunger. Truly, a Father who will never leave us nor forsake us. (Deuteronomy 31:6)
“Many are the plans in the mind of a man,
but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand.” (Proverbs 19:21)
Just like my parents who always made sure I understood why I had to get beaten, God makes us understand why we have to go through seasons of refining. In the fire, metals are purified from dusts and dirt. God allows seasons of purification to prepare us for seasons of beauty and breakthroughs. I personally believe that if I had not gone through all the pain and hurts of my past, I would not have an enduring heart. If I was spared from heartaches and darkest moments, I would never have seen how grand God’s plan for me is. If God did not allow me to be beaten to a pulp, I would never have realized that the only anchor I have is Christ. I would have gone astray, far away from the beauty that the Lord has in-store for me.
“..And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Hebrews 12:1-2)
Christ wasn’t spared from the shame, betrayal and pain. But He looked at the joy set before Him, which is the salvation of mankind. May we all see difficult seasons with the eyes of the Lord and realize how much we’ll benefit from them. In tough times, may we always remind ourselves to fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith. In times of struggles, may we grow strong in faith and run with perseverance the race that is set before us.
I pray and hope that we will take this time to reflect on our seasons of pruning, rejections, heart breaks and refining. I pray that no amount of pain can ever deter you from seeking God. I pray that in every season, we would still find a reason to praise and worship Him. And, just like to our own parents, we would come home, fully convinced that God’s tough love is for our own sake, believing that all things work together for good for those who love Him, who are called according to His purpose. (Romans 8:28)