I NEVER get ANYTHING!”
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. Hebrews 12:11
Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. James 1:4
Recently I recalled an incident from my childhood (back in the Stone Age). I don’t remember what prompted this action, but I vividly remember sitting and rocking to and fro while I sang, “I want. I never get anything.” My little ditty wasn’t well received by my mother at the time, but years later it provided ample opportunities for laughter in our family. I’ve not used those exact words but I’ve sung a version of that song, on occasion, to God. It hasn’t worked with Him either.
At different times I’ve offered God my suggestions about how He could upgrade His parenting skills. With myself as an example, I’ve reminded Him what a diligent job I did to provide my daughter’s needs in a timely manner. I hoped He’d take a page from my playbook. For now, He’s still on His game plan. During one of our re-education sessions, the Father gently interrupted my diatribe with this thought. His goal is to raise mature sons and daughters, not spoiled brats. Spoiled brats! I hadn’t thought of that. Would it disrupt His grand cosmic scheme if for a short time I could be spoiled to my heart’s content? I liked the sound of this.
One Saturday morning, at o’dark hundred, when I should’ve been asleep, I was wide awake. My mind buzzed with thoughts to process for this post. I remembered a guy I knew in the very early days of my relationship with God. I’ll call him Tony. Tony was an only child raised in a fairly affluent family. By his own admission, he was a spoiled brat. When we met, Tony was in his early twenties, married and about to be a first-time father. His life was in shambles. Why? He was undisciplined. Accustomed to having his way, his adjustment to responsible adulthood was rocky. He recognized his problem and reached out for help. When given sought after advice, he couldn’t act on it. He was so programmed to a life that fit his desires and parameters, any and all deviations from that norm were unacceptable. Tony’s marriage fell apart and he disappeared from the church. Occasionally I’ve thought of him and wondered if he ever got his act together.
As much as I think being spoiled would be wonderful, it’s probably not all grand. Tony’s is an excellent example. To our advantage, God dotes on us endlessly. He generously lavishes us with discipline. His goal is to raise stable, mature individuals, not blithering idiots.
I think I’ve got the picture, although it’s not the one I would paint. God won’t spoil me, despite my attempts to the contrary. His plan to develop me into a disciplined grown-up has no room from such nonsense. As I go through the process, I’ll have to trust that His design will produce something of eternal value, not just temporary enjoyment or ease. Am I going to change my tune? I think I need to.
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