Sunday, January 17, 2016
Parents of young children (like me) know that a child will not always respond to discipline. It may be necessary to elevate the level of discipline to cause the child to understand (“wake up to”) the moral reality of his or her actions. Is it unloving for us to discipline our child in order to point them in the direction of wisdom, goodness and truth? Is it not the most loving action we can take to correct their actions or attitudes in order to set them on a course for creating a moral character that makes good and right moral decisions independent of us? In chapters 8 and 9 of the Book of Revelation, we read about certain “end times” events that do not sit well with the modern reader. We see the Lord allowing for vast and incomparable devastation to come upon the earth, removing one-third of the crops, livestock, and human beings from the face of the earth. God permits this devastation to occur in order that those humans who have not yet turned to Jesus might repent of their idolatry (Revelation 9:20-21), and make Jesus the center of their affections. Is it unloving for God to allow this devastation? If God Himself is most worthy of our affections, is it not supremely loving of God to take any means necessary to turn our affections away from ourselves and “wake up to” the only one and true object worthy of eternal worship, God Himself? There is no question that trusting in the future redemption of our significant sufferings or current calamities requires fearless faith. But if you have endured such setbacks, will you at least consider the possibility that, just like we ought to discipline our children to become lovers of good, God has (and will) discipline us in order to become lovers of God? The death of a child, like other significant means of suffering in this life, can serve as a “wake up call” from a loving God. When we lose something so close to the center of our affections, we should respond like little children, and ask how our Heavenly father wants to use this discipline for our good. We would be wasting the attention and intentions of a loving and sovereign God if we let our sufferings go to waste.