Over the last few weeks, the Lord has had to discipline me over something in my life. When this happens, it can often be painful and ugly - I just want it to end! For me, the Lord speaks to me through my stomach. It's as if the Holy Spirit rips all sense of peace out of my guts and leaves me completely barren. Like I said, it's painful. And our tendency when we begin to experience something like this - our initial reaction - is to desperately try and find someone who can empathize with us. We want someone to say, "I understand". And more than that, we want someone to tell us how long it's going to last, and what the point is, and what it is that ultimately God is trying to tell us. Someone! But if I'm being honest with you, this is not the way that the Lord works.
I read a word this morning in "My Utmost for His Highest" that speaks to this. Oswald Chambers, in talking about our solitude and "getting alone with God" makes this statement: "If you are going on with God, the only thing that is clear to you, and the only thing God intends to be clear, is the way He deals with your own soul. Your brother's sorrows and perplexities are an absolute confusion to you. We imagine we understand where the other person is, until God gives us a dose of the plague of our own hearts. There are whole tracts of stubbornness and ignorance to be revealed by the Holy Spirit in each of us, and it can only be done when Jesus gets us alone." Totally ALONE!
Take a moment and read through that again.
Understand this up front: the discipline of the hand of God on your life can and will be an incredibly lonely thing. This is not because He desires you to feel like He's abandoned you - it's because the root of that discipline has to do with you abandoning Him. At some point in time, we make a decision - we say a word or think a thought or lust after the worthless - and our heart strays from the path of holiness and righteousness that Christ intends us to walk. If your heart truly desires to walk that path, then your heart has to be disciplined back onto it. I have to be reminded of the condition of my soul before I met the One who saved and redeemed it. As Chambers said, God gives us a "dose of the plague of our own hearts". I can't temper this with someone else's sympathy. They know nothing of the wretchedness that I face when I stray from Christ. They can only know their own heart. But Christ - our Savior who has "in every respect been tempted as we are..." - He sees and knows what's breaking our heart. And He can be the ONLY one we run to and cling to and cry out to during this time of discipline.
When you read through the Psalms you find David in this position often. Psalm 51 is the prime example, as he cries out, "...let the bones you have broken rejoice." And if you are His child, there will come a time when you feel like He is breaking your bones! But you can find hope and joy and yes - even peace - when this happens. Because "the Lord disciplines those He loves, and He punishes those He accepts as His children." The writer of Hebrews asks the question: "Whoever heard of a child who was never disciplined." This is proof of parenthood! And to go further, when I was disciplined by my parents I never ran to my brother and asked, "Why are they doing this? How long must I endure this pain?" First off, I was normally being disciplined for something I probably did TO my brother. But the point is, only I could face this discipline. Only me.
I encourage you and challenge you - do NOT grow weary and lose heart! When the Lord puts His hand on you it's because He loves you, desires to refine you, and wants to affirm and engrain deep within your heart and soul the precious knowledge that "You are MINE!" What could bring more peace than that?