Ever asked that? Things go wrong – flat tire, financial trouble, conflict at work, illness – and you picture God frowning, waving a big stick in your direction.
Actually, the New Testament most often uses the words “punish” or “punishment” in relation to God and those who reject him. In relation to Christians, God more often uses the word “discipline.”
What’s the difference? Think about your kids or your parents. Chances are some spanking, grounding, withholding of allowance or time outs took place during the growing up years. Not always fun, but ideally, lessons learned, character shaped. Parents love their kids and sometimes have to discipline them.
Likewise, God disciplines his kids out of love. Hebrews 12 describes this beautifully. So next time you feel like everything’s going wrong, remember the word “discipline.” Your heavenly father is shaping your character.