If you have grown up in the care of loving, kind parents you are blessed! Over the years I have met many people from difficult family backgrounds. A friend of mine once confided in me that her own father had never kept his word to her growing up. He would promise to take her to the park or the store; but when the time came to go, there would always be some reason for him not to follow through on his promise. Consequently, when she came to faith, she somehow transferred her father’s failure and inconsistency onto God. She struggled to trust that her Heavenly Father would keep the promises in His Word, because, without realizing it, she expected Him to be just like her earthly father had been.
I wasn’t much different to her. My father worked away from home for long periods of time; and when I first became a Christian I struggled to truly believe the promise that God, my Heavenly Father, would never leave me or forsake me.
I also had trouble believing God wasn’t angry with me. My parents’ idea of discipline consisted mostly in doling out punishments that were usually harsh and not always just or fair. Though they were not religious in any way, one Scripture they did know and remind me of consistently was “Honor your father and your mother.” They would often tell me that obeying them was my one and only job, no matter what. It seemed an impossible thing to do from my heart, and I felt their anger and displeasure keenly. The sad part is I felt that God was angry with me too and always would be!
Thankfully, God is different to our parents. He will always keep His Word to us. He will never leave us or forsake us. And He will only deal with us in love. Hebrews 12:7-8 states that when He disciplines us it is because he loves us and in fact, His training is proof that we are really His children. Our problem comes when we think that He operates like our earthly parents did and so verse 9-10 reminds us that He is different to them.” 9 Moreover, we have all 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! 10 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.”
I had to forgive my parents and understand that they were broken people just doing the best that they could in the circumstances. They did what they thought was best, though often it really wasn’t. However, God disciplines us with our good in mind and His training brings about true holiness!
Of course, verse 11 goes on to acknowledge that: 11 No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful.” But then we are promised: “Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.”
God is far wiser and far more loving than our earthly parents could ever be. Though some of our spiritual training might be difficult, we must remember that what He allows is only for our good and that through it He will bring us to righteousness and peace in Him.
Blessings on your day!
© November 26th 2018