Hebrews 12:5, 6 - Purpose of Discipline.
Hebrews 12:5, 6 (NIV) "My son, do not make light of the Lord's
discipline, and do not lose heart when he rebukes you, because the Lord
disciplines those he loves, and he punishes everyone he accepts as a son."
Did you grow up in a home where you never received loving
discipline? That is unfortunately more and more possible these days. Parents
are told that to discipline is not good. That counsel is simply out
of the pit. Any discipline that is unbalanced and mean-spirited,
not out of love, is wrong. But parents who love their children know
that foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child. Just so, we all
begin the Christian life as babes. And just as babes are willful, so
are we at different times in our lives. These are times when we
choose to sin. God in His grace and mercy doesn't abandon us. Rather,
He chastens or disciplines us in various ways. God so wants the
very best for His children, that He died for us! So when chastenings
come, don't wilt and become mired in self-pity. Rather know, it is
your loving Father in heaven, teaching you and guiding you. Take
courage. [In His Time; Walk With Wisdom re vs. 5,6]
Pebble Beach, on the California coast, has become quite famous
for the beautiful pebbles found there. The raging white surf
continually roars, thundering and pounding against the rocks on the shore.
These stones are trapped in the arms of the merciless waves. They are
tossed, rolled, rubbed together, and ground against the sharp edges of
the cliffs. Both day and night, this process of grinding continues
relentlessly. And what is the result?
Tourists from around the world flock there to collect the
beautiful round stones. They display them in cabinets and use them to
decorate their homes. Yet a little farther up the coast, just around the
point of the cliff, is a quiet cove. Protected from the face of the
ocean, sheltered from the storms, and always in the sun, the sands are
covered with an abundance of pebbles never sought by the travelers.
So why have these stones been left untouched through all the
years? Simply because they have escaped all the turmoil and the
grinding of the waves. The quietness and peace have left them as they
have always been - rough, unpolished, and devoid of beauty - for
polish is the result of difficulties.
Since God knows what niche we are to fill, let us trust Him to
shape us to it. And since He knows what work we are to do, let us
trust Him to grind us so we will be properly prepared.
O blows that strike! O hurts that pierce This fainting heart of
What are you but the Master's tools Forming a work Divine?
Nearly all of God's jewels are crystallized tears. [Streams in
the Desert by Cowman]
A man found a cocoon of a butterfly and one day a small opening
appeared. He sat and watched the butterfly for several hours as it
struggled to force its body through that little hole. Then it seemed to
stop making any progress. It appeared as if it had gotten as far as
it could and it could go no farther. The man decided to help the
butterfly, so he took a pair of scissors and snipped off the remaining tip
of the cocoon. The butterfly then emerged easily, but it had a
swollen body and small shriveled wings. The man continued to watch the
butterfly because he expected that, at any moment, the wings would enlarge
and expand to be able to support the body, which would contract in
time. Neither happened! In fact, the butterfly spent the rest of its
life crawling around with a swollen body and shriveled wings. It
never was able to fly. What the man in his kindness and haste did not
understand was that the restricting cocoon and the struggle required for
the butterfly to get through the tiny opening were God's way of
forcing fluid from the body of the butterfly into its wings so that it
would be ready for flight once it achieved its freedom from the
cocoon. Sometimes struggles are exactly what we need in our life. If God
allowed us to go through our life without any obstacles, it would
cripple us. We would not be as strong as what we could have been. And we
could never fly.
In the full light of day, and in hearing of the music of other
voices, the caged bird will not sing the song that this master seeks to
teach him. He learns a snatch of this, a trill of that, but never a
separate and entire melody. But the master covers the cage, and places
it where the bird will listen to the one song he is to sing. In
the dark, he tries and tries again to sing that song until it is
learned, and he breaks forth in perfect melody. Then the bird is brought
forth, and ever after he can sing that song in the light. Thus God
deals with His children. He has a song to teach us, and when we have
learned it amid the shadows of affliction, we can sing it ever
The very hardship which is intended to bless can ruin us.
Whether suffering strengthens or weakens us depends on our response to
it. If we look at suffering only as an evil, and become bitter, the
discipline God intended as a love gift will become a burden and a thorn.
Such people miss the grace of God. No, not the grace expressed in
bringing the specific trial. But the grace that marks our entire
relationship with God, and the grace that is available to strengthen us in
our difficulties. A focus on God's grace will lead to an experience
of God's grace in our situation, and that will free us from
bitterness, and we will grow. [The 365-Day Devotional Commentary]
Our real blessings often appear to us in the shape of pains,
losses and disappointments; but let us have patience, and we soon shall
see them in their proper figures. Joseph Addison.