“My son, do not reject the discipline of the Lord or loathe His reproof, for whom the Lord loves He reproves, even as a father corrects the son in whom he delights.”
What comes to mind when you hear the word “discipline?” The belt or wooden spoon your parents might have used? It doesn’t exactly bring to mind a positive connotation. But aren’t you grateful that you received it?
Where would you be today if you hadn’t received any discipline? Probably dead in the street, because you wouldn’t listen to your parents when they said that cars could kill you. Or your hands burned on the stove (which some of us have gone and done anyway, learning first hand the value of listening).
What about self-discipline? If we didn’t discipline ourselves to get up every morning and go to work, we’d be living on the streets. Or if we didn’t discipline ourselves in our eating habits, we’d have no end of health issues. Discipline is a good thing.
So what about when the Lord does it to His children? Is it any less of a good thing? On the contrary, even more so, because the Lord will discipline us perfectly. “...He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 1:6) This doesn’t happen magically. It requires discipline.
God has various ways to discipline us. Sometimes, it’s a word from someone that reminds you of who you serve. (See Opportunity to Serve for more on that.) Sometimes, a slap on the hand in something inconvenient for us. And then there are those times when we’ve just been looking the other way so long that God finally whips out the baseball bat and gives it a good swing. (Don’t misunderstand me. I don’t mean that all your circumstances are a result of God disciplining you - that would contradict the book of Job - but God does have a reason for your circumstances. See Teaching for more on that.)
He doesn’t do this out of anger. In fact, He does this out of mercy. It doesn’t feel very good - especially at the time. But you will thank Him later.
Can you thank Him now?