“No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on however it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.” Heb.12:11
This morning as I read Hebrews 12:11 it struck me that the discipline of the Lord is constant and ever changing, not static. There is no clear delineation between times of tribulation to times of peace. Therefore one shouldn’t wait for a trial to be over to seek joy and peace; rather they should be sought in the moment of now.
So then being as forgetful as I am, I began searching for an experience to which I could to attach this thought, so as to give it more mass, and also because I have a harder time recalling new memories, so I wanted to relate it somehow to something I already had stored. Interestingly, what bubbled to the surface was the grading of my children’s school essays.
How when correcting their essays, I did not try and correct every error all at once, but rather focused on one skill set at a time, keeping at it through thick or thin, until this skill became almost habitual. Creating the need to recognize that the work being produced, with this one new skill aligned into its desired place was better than before, and then praising it as such.
Life is like that. God is working on me a skill set at a time. Some of them I probably don’t even consciously notice, whereas with others His guidance produces tears and agony just to begin the process of trying to accomplish them, and He sticks with me through thick or thin, until the a habit of obedience is formed.
But if I keep in mind that I exist in His story not mine, and I view the sometimes painful tweaking He is doing to the small little paragraph that is my life, the fixing of my misplaced modifiers and the correcting of the order of my thoughts, as necessary push to ease me back into the flow of His word, a place of praise and glory, to the joy.
So really when He says in all things give thanks, I should, and will try for always. However, I am a work in progress, and this particular skill is a really hard one. But now I will have a memory helper stored away which I can pull out and remind myself, that just like when teaching my children, there may have often been tears and struggles in the learning process, but there was also joy.
For when my child was able to see their progress, in that moment of understanding, their joy was a precious wonder to behold as a parent. Well as my good good father, God must find a smile within Himself each time I master the new skill He is trying to teach me, and oh what joy it brings me as His child to comply and rest in His approval.
However it doesn’t end there, no of course not, He moves on to the next lesson. For He is continually shaping me into the adult He would like me to be, for if I am eventually going to spend eternity communing with Him, it makes sense to me that he is shaping my life in this way.
I did this with my children, shaping them into the kind of adults I would choose to be my friend. For Spirit filled responsible people who are a pleasure to be around was always my end goal in child rearing. I reckoned they would be adults a lot longer than they would be children, and then I had their lifelong friendship to look forward to throughout those tumultuous training years.
When you look at it this way, the Lord’s instruction to see the joy in tribulation makes perfect sense to me. If this is my earthly childhood, and God is shaping me into the adult He will enjoy spending eternity with, I’m all in. For this lifetime is but a blip when one considers an eternity in heaven being perfectly, completely, finally, all grown up.