Henry Bosch tells a story about a young boy who made a toy boat and then went to sail it on a pond. While he was playing with it along the water’s edge, the boat floated out beyond his reach. In his distress he asked an older boy to help him. Without saying a word, the older child picked up some stones and started to throw them toward the boat.
The little boy became upset, for he thought that the one he had turned to for help was being mean. Soon, though, he noticed that instead of hitting the boat, each stone was directed beyond it, making a small ripple that moved the vessel a little nearer to the shore. Every throw of the stone was planned, and at last the treasured toy was brought back to his waiting hands.
God shows us in His Word that our circumstances are fashioned for our good, with a purpose, rather than to inflict pain or harm us. No matter the circumstance, and even in our rebellious failures, God intends to bring us nearer to Himself, to encourage us to set our minds “on things above, not on things on the earth” (Colossians 3:2). Because we are prone to drift away from Him, the Lord must discipline us to get us back on the right course. That is what we see in Hebrews 12.
What happens when a believer sins?
In Hebrews 12:3-11 the word “discipline” appears 9 times. This word refers to the whole training and education of a child and instruction that aims to increase virtue. God uses corrective measures that will eliminate sinful attitudes and actions and that will encourage godly and joyful living. The heavenly Father will not ignore the sin in the lives of His children that He judges in the lives of those who reject His Son.
The Father will discipline his children in the following ways:
David is a perfect example of one who endured the discipline of the Lord. After his sin with Bathsheba, he bowed his neck and refused to repent. With his own words, David recounts the impact of God’s heavy hand of discipline…
For when I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long. For day and night your hand was heavy upon me; my strength was dried up as by the heat of summer. SelahI acknowledged my sin to you, and I did not cover my iniquity; I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the LORD,” and you forgave the iniquity of my sin. Selah (Psalm 32:3-5)
Others who received this kind of discipline include Moses and Jonah
Paul was given this kind of discipline…
So to keep me from becoming conceited because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from becoming conceited. (2 Corinthians 12:7)
This may be the reason you don’t always get what you want.
Job was a righteous man, but God allowed Satan to plunge this man into trial after trial. Why? To teach Him more about God, and ultimately to teach future generations more about God through Job. God’s discipline is for your good!
What kind of discipline have you been experiencing lately? Discipline is good for us for several reasons. It shows us we are loved by God (Hebrews 12:6), we are truly His children (vv. 6-8), that we can experience abundant life (v. 9), become more holy (v. 10), and better used by God because of our training in righteousness (v.11). Discipline is truly for our good.