My two-year-old, Samuel, is going through ‘the phase’. If you’re a parent, or have been around kids very much, you know what I’m talking about. It’s not ‘the terrible twos’, which I don’t think exist. It’s ‘a phase’, which he’ll repeat when he’s about five and then again at about eight…and from what my friends tell me again between twelve and nineteen 🙂
He’s testing the limits!
For the past few weeks, my husband or I have had to remove Samuel from the breakfast table to discipline him, due to this ‘phase’ behavior. You know the kind. Throwing food on the floor when he doesn’t get what he wants, screaming (for the same reasons), banging his spoon on the table, putting his hand into his juice cup until it gets stuck and then he tries to remove it, but only succeeds in pouring juice all over the table, himself, and anyone sitting closeby (usually me).
One of these mornings, after Samuel’s waffle sailed across the room missing my head by a few inches, my husband took him back to our bedroom to discipline him.
Lydia, my five year old daughter, shook her golden head and sighed. “He sure it getting disciplined a lot at breakfast. I feel sorry for him.”
Seven year old Aaron replied, “You have to get disciplined if you disobey, right mama?”
I nodded. “Why do you think God tells mommy and daddy to discipline you guys?”
Lydia crinkled up her brow in thought and then shrugged, Aaron responded with a blank stare (probably because his mind had already jumped to some other topic), but nine year old Ben was ready.
“Because if we don’t learn to obey you guys, how will we know how to obey God?” Brilliant kid!!
“So why is obeying God important?”
With her usual inaccurate speed, Lydia says, “I bet God’s spankings are really bad.”
“Yeah,” Aaron had joined back into the conversation. “Like the flood. Ooo, now that was a big old spanking.”
Ever in focus, Ben answered. “Because God wants what’s best for us.”
Wow! I meditated on that thought all day long. God has commanded us to discipline our children and as our Heavenly Father, He disciples us! Why?
Because he loves us! That’s right, I wrote the word L-O-V-E. (Do you really think we see ourselves clearly enough to know what’s best for ourselves…just think of your kids. They’d eat chocolate, hard candy, or cupcakes for every meal if you left it up to them.)
Because he knows what is best for us and wants us to follow in His perfect plan.
Because he sees what we can be and knows the best trials, challenges, tribulations to get us there.
In all reality, His main goal isn’t our happiness….it’s our holiness. Ouch! But if you think about it , as we grow closer to Christ our joy increases, even in the middle of difficult moments. The Puritans are great teachers on that lesson.
Why do I take away computer time from my kids if they lose their tempers? To help them learn to control their tempers. Does it hurt them at the time….yes! Will it help them in the future…I hope so.
Why do I spank my two year old when he willfully disobeys by trying to decapitate me with his waffle? Because I want to hurt him? No, in all reality, one pop on the back of a diaper-padded bottom doesn’t cause a great deal of pain. He needs to learn that there are consequences for disobedience.
Psalm 94: 11-12 state “Blessed is the man you discipline, O LORD,
the man you teach from your law;
you grant him relief from days of trouble…”
Ever faithful Proverbs continues…
“My son, do not despise the LORD’s discipline
and do not resent his rebuke,
because the LORD disciplines those he loves,
as a father the son he delights in. “
I love my kids and I want them to learn how to make wise choices, develop good habits of self-control and patience….overall develop a good character. Speaking of character, Romans 5:3-5 really makes God’s big picture intention clear.
“Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.”
He sends trials and sufferings our way because he’s developing our character…and helping us to realize our only ‘hope’ is in Him…not in this world, or our loved ones, or our jobs….but only in Him.
May we say with Job…”Should we accept good from God and not trouble?” May we also cry out to our Father in trust that His plans are the best and that His love for us spans our past, present, and future.