The Special of the Day… From the Orange Moon Cafe…
When looking back on school days, most people remember the tough teachers as the best ones. Mrs. Copeland, my sixth grade history teacher, serves as my example of the disciplinarian who demanded too much of her students - and who usually got what she was looking for.
"Thou hast showed Thy people hard things" (Psalm 60:3).
"Whom the Lord loveth, He chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom He receiveth" (Hebrews 12:6).
When we get to Heaven, born again believers in the Lord Jesus Christ will look back on our earthly lives with much appreciation for the "hard things" God determined and allowed. It is very difficult to do that now, or at least to feel the appreciation. As a twelve year old boy, I did not care at all for Mrs. Copeland's demands, or for the sacrifices involved to fulfill them. I had other things to do - sports to play, friends to enjoy, television to watch. "Mean, old…!!!" I used to think to myself.
Long ago, however, my remembrance and attitude toward Mrs. Copeland drastically changed. I realized life would make the same demands she made, and that her discipline prepared me to better meet the challenges. Even more, I discovered after becoming a believer that God would show me "hard things" unpleasant at the time they occurred, but blessed and redemptive in the ultimate sense. "We must through much tribulation enter into kingdom of God" (Acts 14:22).
Mrs. Copeland did not play games as a sixth grade teacher. Deadly serious intentions guided her determined purpose to figuratively fulfill Solomon's protocol: "Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child; but the rod of correction shall drive it far from him" (Proverbs 22:15). As a Christian, she understood this (Mrs. Copeland gave me my first Bible, a Gideon New Testament). She thus reflected her Heavenly Father, who would become my Heavenly Father not too many years after having been Mrs. Copeland's student. Indeed, God is deadly serious in His determined purpose to conform His trusting children to the spiritual and moral image of the Lord Jesus Christ. This requires gentleness and firmness, administered no less by the discipline of His hand than the grace of His heart. We need both, and we can be sure our Father will make our way both happy and hard during our walk with Him in a fallen world. Presently, the former path can be decidedly unpleasant and even bewildering. Like Mrs. Copeland, however, we will one day look back on God's administration and allowance of "hard things" as a blessed and primary expression of His loving devotion to us. I thank Him now for the prospect, and I also look forward to extending in Heaven a long overdue "Thank you" to Mrs. Copeland for loving her students enough to demand more than we thought we could give.
"Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby."
"He that spareth his rod hateth his son, but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes."
Weekly Memory Verse
"Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?"
(I Corinthians 3:16)