Have you ever felt like your life was out of control? Have you ever been tempted to think God has abandoned you? That He couldn’t possibly love you if He allows pain and hardships to come into your life? Or perhaps even—gasp—that God had lost control? Have you ever cried out to God and asked why you have to suffer? If so, you aren’t alone. And the answer is much easier to understand when you remember that God is our Heavenly Father and that we are His children.
As a parent, I have seen my children at their best and at their absolute worst. I’ve seen them politely address elderly women in our church as “ma’am” while holding the door open for them, and I’ve seen them kick their sibling in the stomach just for the fun of it. Sweet hugs one minute can turn into tantrums the next. Trust me, I’ve seen it all. And one thing I know is that kids aren’t innately good. I never had to teach my children to lie, steal, whine, hit, or bite. They do these things instinctively. But I would be a terrible parent if I ignored those things or passed them off as childish behaviors that they would outgrow. As a parent, I have to do something drastic because I love them too much to allow them to grow up to be spoiled and entitled. I have to discipline them.
The Bible shows us that we, too, are disciplined by our Father in heaven. Proverbs 3:11-12 tells us, “My son, do not despise the Lord’s discipline or be weary of his reproof, for the Lord reproves him whom he loves, as a father the son in whom he delights.” Hebrews 12:5-6 quotes that passage and elaborates on the topic.
Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as sons. For what son is not disciplined by his father? If you are not disciplined…then you are illegitimate children and not true sons. 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 our spirits and live! Our fathers disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in his holiness. No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it. (Hebrews 12:7-11)
So discipline is actually a good thing when it comes from God. It’s proof that He counts you as His son or daughter. The reasons may not be evident to you, but He knows what He’s doing. When your life seems to spiral out of control and you wonder where God is, He’s right there beside you.
Allow me to illustrate. Imagine you’re in a grocery store and your child starts to throw a tantrum because you won’t buy her a toy. Whom do you love more—your child or your fellow shoppers? Your child, obviously. So with that in mind, you (hopefully!) choose what is best for your child in the long run, even though she may scream for all she’s worth. You refuse to give in. Outsiders looking in may think you’ve lost control, but in reality you are shaping your child’s future character. So we must ultimately believe that God knows what is best for us, even when it appears He has lost control.
So take heart, dear one. Whatever you’re facing, God has not abandoned you or lost control. Trust your Heavenly Father. He knows what is best for you, His dear child. He’s looking to your future, not only on this earth, but also a future with Him in heaven.