Links Daily Devotional

Learning from God’s Hand

“Blessed is the one whom God corrects; so do not despise the discipline of the Almighty. For he wounds, but he also binds up; he injures, but his hands also heal.” (Job 5:17-18, NIV)

No one likes pain. When a friend gets the shanks, or leaves a ball in a bunker once, twice and three times, we look away. We may hope to hear them laugh, so that we can too; but the odds are better that they’ll scoot their ball away and declare a defeated “I’m done.” Even knowing that we’ve all been there doesn’t bring much comfort.

Trouble in golf is one thing. We bring it upon ourselves.

But when trouble comes in life, especially trouble that seems to land on our heads for no good reason, we can get to shaking a fist at God and asking why. Moses did this when the people of Israel grumbled about the lack of variety in their diet. “Why did You place me in charge of these whining people?” Moses asked. “I’d just as soon have You kill me than require me to lead these insolent fools even one more day” (see Numbers 11:10-15).

Of course, there are times when the discipline we receive is the discipline we deserve. We sin. We know it. And though we much prefer Jesus’ answer about the man born blind in John 9—that his blindness came by no fault of his own but rather that God would be glorified—we realize that when we go against God’s directions, He will often use troubling or painful consequences to bring us back into line.

Here, though, is the amazing truth: God’s correction is a blessing. We must learn to see it this way, of course; but when we do, we find ourselves in a great position to grow.

Consider this parallel. A professional golfer who suffers a bad round must brush it off and go back out tomorrow, ready to succeed. She cannot allow the poor score to define her. At the same time, she cannot go out without learning from her mistakes. A bit of chastisement today can go a long way tomorrow. In the same way, when we are in Christ, we are no longer defined as sinners. But the sins that we do commit—and the way they separate us from the Lord’s pleasure—stir us both to repentance and then to improvement. The discipline of God is a blessing because it is the engine of our sanctification.

And most important of all is the undercurrent. In Job, we read that the One who wounds is the One who heals. In Romans, Paul wrote that it is God’s kindness that leads us to repentance (Romans 2:4). No wonder Job Himself said that the Lord is to be praised whether He is giving to us or taking from us, whether He is blessing us or testing us (Job 1:21). For through it all—hurt and help—God and His love are ever fast.

Jeff Hopper

October 13, 2011

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