Thursday, November 9, 2017

“The Chastening of Love”

"The Chastening of Love

    The Lord who "hath no pleasure in the death of him that dieth" (referring to those who turn away from Him) takes no pleasure in administering or allowing pain and difficulty in His trusting children's lives (Ezekiel 18:32).  He nevertheless loves us enough to coordinate challenge as well as blessing during our earthly lifetime.

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

    Responsible human parents understand the devotion, affection, and commitment that leads to the rod of discipline (in whatever form) as well as the tender caress.  No believer will walk faithfully with God in this lifetime apart from both inward and outward difficulty.  "We must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God" (Acts 14:22).  The strain of independence inherited from Adam runs too deeply in our flesh for an unruffled and unhindered journey through this present world.  Trouble serves to reveal our need for the Lord Jesus Christ, not only as the Savior from our sins, but as the Strength for living a life that honors Him.  Without problems, perils, pain, perplexity, and the seeming possibility of destruction, no Christian would consistently trust and devote ourselves to God.  It would not matter how well we knew the Bible, how much we prayed, or how persistently we committed our days and our ways to Him.  Without God's wisely applied chastening and scourging, no hope would exist for the faith and faithfulness to which our Heavenly Father calls us.  "Before I was afflicted, I went astray.  But now have I kept Thy Word" (Psalm 119:67).

    Again, however, we can be completely sure that God takes no pleasure in seeing His children hurt, even for necessary purposes.  "Like as a father pitieth his children, so the Lord pitieth them that fear Him" (Psalm 103:13).  I recall holding my daughter Marie's head in place for stitches to be sewn by a doctor in a cut just above her eye.  She was one year old at the time, and did not understand why the father whose love she trusted would restrain her while strangers frightened and hurt her.  I shed many tears through the procedure because I knew Marie did not know what I was doing or why.  I also recall thinking, "From this moment on, whenever the Lord must take me through pain and uncertainty for reasons I do not understand, this is exactly how He feels."  Actually, not "exactly."  I am sure that our Father's grief experienced when He must grieve us outweighs my experience with Marie by an infinite measure.  We must view our Lord in this way, first because it is Biblically true, and then because we must trust His heart when we cannot understand His hand.  Only thereby will we glorify Him in our trials, and only thereby will our hearts be kept in peace when our Heavenly Father determines or allows necessary challenges.

"Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: but rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ's sufferings; that, when His glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy."
(I Peter 4:12-13)
"If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not?  But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons. Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live?  For they verily for a few days chastened us after their own pleasure, but He for our profit, that we might be partakers of His holiness."
(Hebrews 12:7-10)

Weekly Memory Verse
   For Thou art not a God that hath pleasure in wickedness: neither shall evil dwell with Thee.
(Psalm 5:4)

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