Scripture: Psalms 118:
18 The LORD has chastened me severely,
but he has not given me over to death.
Observation: Being chastened by God is no fun, but I bet it’s even less fun for God.
Application: I do not like to punish my children. Sometimes I know I’ve been too soft on them, I’ve allowed them to get away with things that I shouldn’t have. But there are times when talking won’t work because they refuse to heed my words, and some things can not be ignored or they will cause bigger problems down the road. So occasionally I have to punish my kids. Yet even when I do, if they plead with me, I often reduce the punishment to something much less than what I began with. I have good children, and I don’t have need to punish them often, but when I do, I fully understand and believe the old cliché’ that children often make fun of, “This is going to hurt me worse than it does you.” Yes, I hurt more than they do because I feel their pain in my own heart, and know that I’m the one inflicting it on them, even though they may have brought it about themselves, it’s me that punishes.
Have you ever felt that God was punishing you? I don’t like to see God that way, as a punisher, but I guess that as a parent He, like myself, has to occasionally punish in order to correct. I am sure that He doesn’t delight in it. He’s not up there somewhere looking down on me and laughing saying “I bet he’s going to think twice before he does that again.” No I think God is right by my side and is suffering more than I am. I am no more than the wicked man that Jesus taught about who gives good things to his son. (Mat 7:11) So how much more pain does God feel when it’s necessary for him to chastise us? And how much more mercy and forgiveness are available for us if we turn our selves around, learn the lessons He’s teaching us and heed His words.
Help me to listen to your teaching. Help me to heed your warnings. Help me to learn from You. When you have to punish me, let me not ask “Why?” but rather teach me to search myself for the reason and do something about it. Let me always remember that you love me more than I could ever know.