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Chastening from God
- Jacob Ninan
When we go through special times of difficulties, they could be of different causes. It could simply mean that we are living in this sin-corrupted world and we are just experiencing the natural problems that others also face (1Co.10:13). In some special cases they could be tests which our Father has permitted to come to us so that we can see where our faith actually stands. This is what God did for Peter (Lk.22:31,32). It could also mean that God is disciplining us, trying to catch our attention to look at something in our life which we have been neglecting. This is more than the conviction and guilt of sin which we feel after we have fallen. This happens when we have been ignoring God's warnings about some area in our life for some time and going about brazenly. He is still our Father, and He loves us too much to just let us go.
It may be that when everything is going well and people like us our heart becomes proud, slowly, so slowly that we don't realise it is happening. Some signs of this happening are that we look less to God for help, have more confidence in ourselves, begin to be impatient with people and situations, etc. But then some 'calamity' or failure hits us. It could be that something we normally do well gets messed up, we get into sudden sickness or accident, some problem begins to so occupy our mind that we get irritated with God, someone rises up against us as our 'enemy', etc. It may be that Satan seems to get some access to our life causing us unexpected problems.
Let us not imagine that every such problem is because of chastening from God. No. We have looked at this earlier here. But when we go to God to find out why something is happening to us, He may just point out to us that this is something He is doing to catch our attention.
Let's also not imagine that God must be angry with us. No. He has put away His anger towards us forever by expressing it towards Jesus when He was on the cross (1Th.5:9). Now He treats us as His beloved children (He.12:6,7). There is no more curse on us, nor does He deal with us like someone who is out to find our faults. He has promised us that He will not recollect our past sins any more (He.8:12).
What we need to do is to face God in humility and repentance, acknowledging our sins (Je.3:13) and turning away from them with our whole heart. We need to take to heart the precious lessons that He wants us to learn through these difficulties that we missed earlier. Let us not begin to complain and grumble about the pain of the chastening, but recognise that we ought to come out at the end as better persons (He.12:10,11).
At the same time, let us remember that if we are careful to examine our life and listen to the voice of the Holy Spirit in the daily situations of life, we need not come to the point where we need to be disciplined by God. Let us be humble if the discipline comes, but let us learn from there to be more careful and sensitive in the future.