Blessed is the one you discipline, Lord, the one you teach from your law; you grant them relief from days of trouble, till a pit is dug for the wicked.
It was a crazy night, and I was not sure what to think of those kids by the end of it. My heart’s desire was to minister to youth and help them along, but that was a rough introduction to their world. After an encouraging chat with a friend, I decided to stick it out and see what I could accomplish there. For the first several months I was met with opposition any time I tried to give advice or instruction. It took time, but eventually they realized that my intention was not to domineer but to support. They understood that my teaching, that all of our teaching, was for their preparation and encouragement, for their good. Once that clicked, the defiance subsided. They were no longer fighting against something they did not want. They now welcomed correction and all the goodness that comes with it.
God’s correction also comes with an overwhelming variety of goodness. His instruction and his law give us liberty, rest and peace. In the beginning, we might be reluctant to walk out that momentary confession when we relinquished our lives to Christ in exchange for his. We might even hate the idea of someone else being in control of how life goes from here. The hope is that we eventually realize that correction from God is a blessing. In fact, scripture tells us that He disciplines the ones He loves. [Heb. 12:6] Yes, God’s love is the wellspring from which his correction flows. Like the disobedient child who acts out just to see if anyone cares enough to take the time to attend to him, we know that God cares because He takes the time to correct and discipline us. When we receive that correction and allow it to change us, we make a deposit in our present and future peace.
God’s discipline is not here to confine or constrict us. The world’s version of discipline does that. It keeps us resentful and unfulfilled as it does not bring encouragement and rest but brings punishment and embarrassment. Instead of bringing life, it takes us even lower. But when God disciplines us, it is with love and support. His correction brings life and brings rest. His correction brings peace in that it keeps us on the narrow path where fear and shame cannot reside. His correction blesses us with the assurance of knowing that God in heaven cares enough to intervene and help us along, steering us right. Father, thank You for your discipline and instruction, and make us a people who willingly surrender to your correction in anticipation of the peace it will bring us.