“My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline, and do not lose heart when He rebukes you, because the Lord disciplines the one He loves….” Hebrews 12:5b
As my husband and I were walking our dog this morning, we were talking about hearing God’s voice and how we shouldn’t always expect God to tell us what we want to hear but instead, knowing how much God loves us, we should expect God to tell us what we need to hear – for our own good. We continued to discuss how sometimes God’s exhortation to us can sound harsh.
Many times when taking our dog Aussie for a walk, she does not always go with the program as we walk along the path. We have taken Aussie to several dog training courses and the trainer recommended that we use a special training collar which tightens around her neck the further she walks away from us and loosens around her neck the closer she walks next to us. No matter how patient we are with her and no matter how many commands we give to her to keep walking close to us, there still are times when she stubbornly wants to lead us instead of us leading her. In order to complete our walks, at these stubborn times when she is distracted, the trainer recommended that we give a quick jerk to her chain to get her attention and to refocus her in the direction that we want her to go.
I hate jerking the chain around Aussie's neck. I would rather “baby talk” her, but unfortunately sometimes “baby talk” does not do the job.
Sometimes God’s correction for us to change the direction of our walk or to rethink a behavior pattern can feel like an unexpected jerk – we may think to ourselves, “Where did that come from?” God's correction can come from a dear loved one, it can come from a total stranger or it can come from God’s Word at an unexpected time.
The Bible says, “Do not make light of the Lord’s discipline and do not lose heart when He rebukes you, because the Lord disciplines the one He loves and he chastens everyone He accepts as His son.” Hebrews 12:5b
The reason why we initially used a training chain with our dog, was to condition her to trust us so that we could ultimately remove the training chain and replace it by voice command – therefore giving the dog more freedom so that she would in turn not harm herself or others. Nevertheless, regardless of our dog's sometimes stubborn nature, we enjoy the close relationship that is between Aussie and us.
Obviously, we are not dogs – we are humans :) - God treats us with great dignity. One of the ways that He shows us His great love is by correcting us as it says in the Bible, “Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as His children. For what children are not disciplined by their fathers? If you are not disciplined – and everyone undergoes discipline – then you are not legitimate, not true sons and daughters at all. Moreover, we have had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of Spirits and live? They disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, in order that we may share in His holiness” Hebrews 12:7-10
God waits patiently for us to rethink our choices. God also can use people to gently or not so gently get our attention. If however, we continue to stray, He may get our attention in a way that is drastic and sudden - all for our good. The sooner we recognize His “pull”, the softer the “jerk” :).
The next time you feel God’s “pull”, remember it is the child that He loves that He corrects and He delights when we walk close to Him not by force, but by our own free will!
Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful; nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.” Hebrews 12:7-11