Have you ever thought of stress, anxiety, or financial setback as a gift?
When I experience difficulties in life, I typically pray for God to make them stop quickly while asking, “God, why me?” Yet, if I’m honest, most of my difficulties are caused by my own actions — stress because I’m regretting a shortcut I took at work, relational anxiety because I’m putting myself first, or a costly accident because of negligence.
I certainly hadn’t thought of these as disciplinary gifts until God challenged me to think about why I discipline my kids. Is it to assert my authority? Is it to make them suffer? No! I want them to experience my love and grace by restoring a right relationship between myself and them, and to turn their feet away from destructive paths.
As I pondered this in terms of my relationship with God, a question arose in my heart. If God removed His discipline, what would be the alternative? Paul gave the answer in Romans 1:26 saying, “Therefore God gave them up to dishonorable passions…”
God, you mean that removing discipline means turning me over to the lusts of my flesh?
I realized that stress, strain, and setback actually serve to turn me away from a life of unrestrained sin by moving me towards repentance and back into a right relationship with God. Wow! What an unbelievably gracious God we serve.
Today, I encourage you to stop and thank God for His grace even in the midst of His discipline.
Heavenly Father, I want to thank you, sincerely, for your discipline in my life and I want to confess my wrong heart attitude of grumbling against you when it has come in the past. Would you teach me how to receive your discipline as the gift of love and grace that it is? In Jesus’ precious name, amen.
Go Deeper – Take some time this week to think about a present or recent difficulty. Think about what brought on the difficult circumstances. No matter the source, think about how God is pouring out His love and grace in your circumstances.
Photo Credit: Ben White