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 
afterward.  MH472 

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.