As a father of four boys, discipline is a regular thing in my household. It's not something I enjoy, but because I want my children to become godly young men who live for Christ and live according to His righteousness, I discipline them when it is necessary. In my own parenting, I am certain the Lord is teaching me something of His own nature: children break your heart, they exhaust and make you angry, but you would do anything to set them on the right path. I'm more convinced of this as I go through my yearly reading in Exodus. How many times did the people say they would do what God willed, and then grumble, complain and fall away? God was grieved, even wanting to destroy them, but allowing for Moses' intercession, and remembering His promises to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Throughout the Old Testament, we see God's heart broken over and again by His wayward children, we see His discipline, and His restoration. On the Cross, we see His overwhelming love for His creation when He offered His own son for their redemption. God is not a stranger to discipline; He's committed to restoring His broken creation to Himself and to making it new. He disciplines us because He loves us, He removes things from us because He desires our attention and dependence to be on Him alone. If only we would listen more often than we talked, worshipped more than we complained, and sat in silence as we watched His hands move, perhaps we would see it more clearly. Discipline hurts, but it's for our good. Hebrews 12:3-17 Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted. In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. And have you forgotten the exhortation that addresses you as sons?
“My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor be weary when reproved by him. For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives.”
It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons. For what son is there whom his father does not discipline? If you are left without discipline, in which all have participated, then you are illegitimate children and not sons. Besides this, we have had earthly fathers who disciplined us and we respected them. Shall we not much more be subject to the Father of spirits and live? For they disciplined us for a short time as it seemed best to them, but he disciplines us for our good, that we may share his holiness. For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.
Therefore lift your drooping hands and strengthen your weak knees, and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be put out of joint but rather be healed. Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord. See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God; that no “root of bitterness” springs up and causes trouble, and by it many become defiled; that no one is sexually immoral or unholy like Esau, who sold his birthright for a single meal. For you know that afterward, when he desired to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no chance to repent, though he sought it with tears.