Wednesday, August 7, 2013

"Corporal Education"

    My recollections of my father are few.  He died when I was two, and I sometimes wonder if the supposed memories I have of him actually involve things people told me about him. 

    The one episode that does seem etched in my heart and mind concerns a day when my father entered our living room and found me playing with the electrical cord of our television set.  He immediately removed me from the danger, and proceeded to, shall we say, "educate" me about the perils of electricity.  His lesson was more corporal than verbal, and to this day I still have a very healthy respect for electricity.

    I've always suspected that some might think it sad that the only real memory of my father involves such a disciplinary moment.  I don't view it that way at all.  No, it seems to me that my dad's inflicting of pain for the purpose of education confirms to me the measure and degree of his love for me.  Indeed, some lessons are not learned by the hearing of words, but rather by the experience of consequences.

     "Whom the Lord loveth, He chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom He receiveth" (Hebrews 12:6).

    We live in a generation that ignores and even rejects the obvious truth that choices and actions lead to consequences.  The resultant destruction of such willful blindness screams at us at every day, and born again believers in the Lord Jesus Christ do well to swim against the spiritual and moral tide that drowns so many.  Yes, God loves us enough to ensure that "whatsoever a  man soweth, that shall he also reap" (Galatians 6:7).  Such truth applies to unbelievers, who experience Divinely ordered consequences every day of their lives, despite their refusal to acknowledge the obvious.  Even more, God graces His trusting sons and daughters in Christ with blessedness as we trust and obey Him, the blessedness of a heart at peace.  Inner turmoil ensues, however, when we disregard the Life of our lives, and sometimes, outward consequences of discipline also result as our Heavenly Father's loving heart results in the love of His chastening hand.  "Thou hast afflicted me!" cried out an anguished David in Psalm 88.  Psalm 89 begins, however, with the joyous exclamation of the saint who discovers God's devotion in both gentleness and firmness: "I will sing of the mercies of the Lord forever!"

     I think of my father, and of the difficult episode that comprises perhaps my only real memory of him.  More than half a century after the sting of his discipline abated, the lesson he taught thereby lingers.  Far more, the assurance of his love for me lives on in my heart.  Such recollection of days gone by speaks to me of this day, and of another Father whose love for His children involves both the caress of affection, and the rod of loving discipline.  We do well to praise and thank Him for both.

He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes."
(Proverbs 13:24)

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