He Meant Business
Recently Sarah was telling her friends about a time, when she was nine, and my Dad, Pa, was teaching her to surf. She told her friend that Pa was always very patient with her when teaching her something but this particular time in the ocean, he spoke sternly. He told her he was going to push her in and he wanted her to go straight to shore and wait there for him. He would be behind her. At first she didn't understand his tone but she knew he meant business (southern for he was serious!) She did like he said and saw him swimming in. When Pa got on the beach, he told Sarah there was a shark behind them and that is why he was sending her on the surfboard right then. Sarah told her friend, "I knew it was something because of his stern voice."
When I went to bed I was thinking about this story and I thought about how children need to know when their guardian means business. It could save them from being in danger, like running in front of a car. In the same way that Sarah knew Pa meant business, we need to know that God means business. There are times He has to be stern with us or show us tough love. Like my earthly father, God needs to get our attention at times. Romans 11: 22, "Consider therefore the kindness and sternness of God: sternness to those who fell, but kindness to you, provided that you continue in his kindness. Otherwise, you also will be cut off." When we are obedient and seeking God, Paul says we find Him loving and kind. But when we justify our actions, have pride and complain constantly, God can be stern. There are times He has to show us tough love.
God loves us enough to bring about change in our lives. Hebrews 12: 6, "because the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and he chastens everyone he accepts as his son." God loves us so much and part of that love includes discipline. God will take whatever necessary action He needs to to get us back on the right track. He wants to bring us to repentance. None of us like to be disciplined, but believers know it is part of our growing process and it is because He loves us. This is when we should ask God to show us what we need to change.
As Paul said in Romans 5: 8, "But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us." We don't deserve God's forgiveness no more than our children, or family, deserves to be forgiven when they mess up. Sometimes we let our pride get in the way and we are not kind with our discipline. God is the best disciplinarian because He loves us unconditionally. When we have to discipline someone we should do it with love, like God shows us.
When we have a personal relationship with God, like Sarah had with Pa, we become "in tune" with God and know when He means business. Sarah had a personal relationship with her Pa and because of that she wanted to honor Him. Likewise, we should be thankful for God's tough love that helps us grow and be better and we should honor Him! Psalm 50: 15, "and call on me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you will honor me." God is always faithful. His promises are promises and will not fail! No matter what the world shows us or society tells us, He will accomplish all that He says He will do. We may go through many trials, temptations, discipline and heartaches but God will carry through all of His promises! Keep honoring God with your life!