For whom the LORD loveth he correcteth; even as a father the son in whom he delighteth.
Adversity from God is proof of His love for you! Just as loving fathers discipline their favorite sons! The blessed God chastens every child of His to make him or her better. Having chosen them as His children before time, adopted them by the blood of Jesus at Calvary, and birthed them by His Spirit, God lovingly corrects them during their lives.
Solomon had exhorted his son not to despise the LORD’s chastening or get weary from His correction (Pr 3:11). Adversity from heaven should not discourage you, because it is proof of God’s love for you (Deut 8:5). Wise men will appreciate their loving Father and see the goal of His corrective chastening – their perfection in godliness (Heb 12:5-13).
Without chastening adversity in your life, you have no evidence you are a child of God, with an eternal inheritance in store. The Holy Scriptures declare you are a bastard, if you do not have this loving punishment in your life (Heb 12:8). For what kind of a son would a father ignore and neglect in this important aspect of parenting – an illegal pretender!
Chastening from God is temporal punishment He brings to correct you from sin and turn you back into the way of righteousness. It is very different from eternal judgment in hell for the final condemnation of your sins. Chastening is fatherly affection to perfect you as His child; it is evidence He will never send you to hell for your sins (I Cor 11:27-32).
Chastening proves love. If a bad event in your life causes you to reflect about your soul, with a desire to submit and serve God more perfectly, you should thank the Lord for this personal gesture of love toward you (Jer 31:18-20). He does not owe you this gracious correction; He could leave you floundering in confusion and sin. Do you not recognize that it brought more carefulness, prayerfulness, and sobriety to your existence?
David was thankful for adversity: he saw its profit. He said, “Before I was afflicted I went astray: but now have I kept thy word” (Ps 119:67). “It is good for me that I have been afflicted; that I might learn thy statutes” (Ps 119:71). “I know, O LORD, that thy judgments are right, and that thou in faithfulness hast afflicted me” (Ps 119:75).
Affliction, or negative events, happens to God’s children for four reasons – loving correction from God, to display His glory in their lives, to perfect their faith, and/or consequences of foolish decisions. God can accomplish one or all of these purposes in the individual events of your life. Since all the reasons are fair and good, there is no excuse to complain. There is mercy, and it nearby, for those who humble themselves and submit.
It is your duty to examine yourself (Ps 19:12-14; 26:2; 139:23-24; I Cor 11:28,31; II Cor 13:5). God will never chasten you for a sin you cannot identify by self-examination. But what efforts have you spent in sober contrition before Him (Ps 51:17; Is 57:15-16)?
It is your duty to carefully heed all preaching, for the same Spirit that brought your correction also directs your pastor’s thoughts (Eccl 12:11). And the same Spirit can use the book He wrote to provoke you to repentance from any passage you read (Ps 19:7-9).
The proper attitude toward chastening is to remember it proves God’s love for you (Deut 8:5). The proper response to chastening is exemplified by Elihu. He said, “Surely it is meet to be said unto God, I have borne chastisement, I will not offend any more: That which I see not teach thou me: if I have done iniquity, I will do no more” (Job 34:31-32).
Job could have had the trials in his life removed sooner, if he had humbled himself and cried out in repentance to his Father for mercy (Job 36:15-18). Reader, how is it with you? Are you thankful for His loving chastening in your life? Are you ready to flee to Him in the name of your high priest Jesus for the comfort and peace of loving tranquility?