Thursday, December 25, 2008

The Chastening of the LORD

My son, despise not the chastening of the LORD; neither be weary of his correction: (Pro. 3:11)

Objectivity is a complex thing: you can slide out of objectivity almost as easily as you can slip into pride. However, it is one of the most needful things in the Christian life, because without it, one becomes self-centered, without the ability to see God's hand molding and shaping his life.

I have seen, in my life and in the lives of others, the tendency to assume control of ones' own life: this invariably winds up being disastrous, sometimes irreparably so. Take Jonah, as an example: when he tried to make his own choices against the will of God, he almost wound up dead. The second time (and you thought he learned his lesson!), God "shelved" him, never to be heard from again. I'm not saying that if you disobey God twice that He's going to retire you, but there comes a point where you'd think a person would learn his lesson and just simply OBEY!

But of course, that rarely, if ever, happens, even in the lives of the most devout among us. Every man falls, falters, fails or fumbles, and it's only God's longsuffering that allows us to keep on messing up and learning from our mistakes. I once preached a message on longsuffering: most people say that the word simply means patience, but third-grade etymology says otherwise. Longsuffering is suffering for a long time. God is LONGSUFFERING; He puts up with a lot of suffering because of us! Have you ever thought that your disobedience causes your God and Saviour to SUFFER?? Think about that next time you're tempted to complain, murmur, disobey or rebel.

Anyhow, back to my original topic. There are times when God needs to chasten or discipline us for something: in our predicament we can rarely see exactly what God is planning for us or preparing us for, but through it all, He knows what He is doing. That's where objectivity comes in: in the midst of my parents' most difficult times, they probably weren't thinking about the effect their faithfulness would have on their son who would eventually be called to the field: they were worried about the bills, groceries and tithe. Little did they know just how much God was using their struggles and even chastening to help prepare someone else for the task that He would give them.

If God has you in a tough spot; if you're up against the ropes getting the pudding pounded outta' you by a 240 lb. heavyweight; if you're wondering how you're going to make ends meet: just remember, God put you there, or at worst allowed you to get in that situation, and He is more than capable of taking care of you: He PROMISED to provide for you. Cheering up may be a bit beyond you right now, but take heart in the fact that God is working in you, to bring forth a vessel for the finer. (Pro. 25:4)

1 comment:

Forrest said...

I know this truth well, Brother Vince. I'm 47 and still learning.

"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" (Hebrews 12:11.