By Michelle Schroeder
“My child, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord,
or lose heart when you are punished by him;
for the Lord disciplines those whom he loves,
and chastises every child whom he accepts.”.~ Hebrews 12:5-6
When I look back on my life, particularly in my adolescent years, I do not doubt that my parents very much loved me, and I also know that I was disciplined. As a grown woman, I certainly can imagine what would have happened had I not been corrected and, yes, punished by my parents. I probably deserved more in the way of punishment than I received sometimes! Yet, I survived it all just fine. Being grounded and missing a party did not, as it turned out, ruin my life forever. Imagine that! So why am I anxious when reading what St. Paul says to the Hebrews and us? I prayed about this for a bit, and God put a few things on my heart to share.
God knows All
First, the reality is that the stakes are higher. Two weeks stuck at home doing chores is one thing but eternity is another. It stands to reason that I would have more trepidation about the type of punishments that God hands out. Second, God really knows everything I do. My parents, despite their best efforts, still missed a thing or two along the way, but God doesn’t miss anything, especially what’s in my heart. There’s simply no possibility of “getting away” with anything when it comes to our heavenly Father. Third, and most important, is a notion that stung a little when I realized it. I’m not sure I always trust God’s love for me the same way I trusted my parents’ love for me. Even in the depths of adolescent angst, I knew my parents loved me and would always be there for me. Yet, there are times a little voice inside me looks at my past (and present!) mistakes and wonders if the One who made all of heaven and earth and raised great saints among us hasn’t thrown his almighty hands up in the air over me yet. He hasn’t. I know that. In my head, I know that. And yet the doubts that the evil one puts on my heart occasionally snip away at the peace that forgiveness and repentance brings.
I recall other times I’ve struggled in my heart with accepting God’s unconditional love, and one source of consolation I’ve found is to reflect on the lives of some of those great saints He created. They were imperfect, just like me, and they repented just like me. They tried and failed and tried again, just like me. So, to truly not “lost heart when reproved by him,” we have to trust in his love. And when we doubt it, we have to remember the proof we have, not just in the lives of the saints but throughout the Bible and other holy writings.
Lord, help me to be fully confident in your love for me so I may fully repent and submit to your will in all that I do.
Call to Action
Prayerfully read this reading and search your heart to find out if you need to trust God’s love more than you currently do. Then, bring this to Him in prayer, and let him guide you to consolation and peace.
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