when i was a kid, i got spanked a few times, but those never really bothered me. it was “one and done,” you know? i mean, ok, a few swats hurt, for a second, but then life was on again! i could get over one of dad’s spankings pretty dang quick.
problem is, he figured it out pretty dang quick, too.
so he changed the punishment.
when i screwed up, he made me stand in the corner.
“jeffrey, you go stand in the corner and think about that!”
i hated standing in the corner!
standing in the corner meant standing still.
not moving. not playing. just being.
i hated standing still. still do.
i understand now, of course, that punishment – standing still or otherwise – is not about a good parent having the final say or of inflicting pain simply because he or she is bigger than the child. discipline, and even punishment, is about correction. correcting behavior that is unhealthy or even dangerous for a child.
proverbs 3.11-12 says,
my child, don’t reject the Lord’s discipline, and don’t be upset when he corrects you.
for the Lord corrects those he loves, just as a father corrects a child in whom he delights.
as christians, when something bad happens in our lives, something that seems to stand us in the corner, something that we don’t like, we blame the devil. we’ve been taught that satan hates God, and God’s kids, and since we’re one of them, satan is always gunning for us. so when something happens that doesn’t seem to be in our best interest – as we define that – we blame the devil. and of course, he often is to blame.
but not always.
this proverb – quoted again in the new testament (see hebrews 12.5-11) – teaches us that God can be involved in our discomfort as well. God does discipline us, he does correct us, because he wants us to live lives that are healthy for us and honoring to him.
if you are suffering right now – sick, rocky marriage, out of work, unhappy, depressed, in a bad circumstance – could it be that God is disciplining you? is it possible that God has you standing in the corner right now, trying to teach you something that is ultimately for your benefit?
i wish i had a magic formula to give you so that you would know for sure. but at least take the chance to think about it. to pray about it. to examine your heart and turn yourself and your circumstances over to God yet again.
and while you’re standing in that corner, please don’t miss a couple key words in this proverb:
God corrects those he loves, those in whom he delights.
God does love you. he is crazy about you! and as so many fathers have said, his correction probably hurts him more than it hurts us. but he acts out of love.
he ALWAYS acts out of love. that’s a guarantee.
now you go think about that.