It was discipline…as usual. My daughter did not do something I specifically asked her to do. In fact, she deliberately did just the opposite, and away we went to my bedroom for a moment of reflection and…discipline. To my surprise, this ‘moment of teaching’ turned out to be one for me too.
As we talked about her disobedience, I asked her what are some reasons why she should obey me. She said, “Because the Bible says so.” Good answer, right? Sure. “Can you think of any other reasons why?” She looked at me with a blank stare.
“Well, I want what’s best for you. I only want to do things that are going to help you and even if it doesn’t make sense to you, you have to trust that I know a little more than you do…that I will make decisions for you that will be the best for you. You can choose to obey and trust because you know I want what’s best for you. Or you can choose to disobey, which will lead to hurt.”
Then something in my spirit seemed to turn the words in on myself. God was calling me to do the same thing: To trust and obey. How else would I know what God’s BEST was if I never sought it out; if I never spoke to Him? My heart ached because of my own disobedience, as real and imperfect as my daughter’s. God was calling me to obey and the penalty for my disobedience was hurt…pain in my spirit and a distance between myself and God. Of course, it wasn’t a distance He created, but one I chose.
Thankfully, just as beautifully and completely as he forgives and restores my daughter, he does the same with me. He’s such a forgiving, gracious, and loving Father. The Bible is very clear on this in Nehemiah 9:17
“But you are a forgiving God, gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love.”
and again in Psalm 86:15
“But you, O Lord, are a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness.”
and Psalm 103:8
“The LORD is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love.”
or Psalm 145:8
“The LORD is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love.”
and just in case you didn’t get the point, also in Joel 2:13 and Jonah 4:2
“he is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love, “
What can we glean from this? What encouragement can we find? We have a Heavenly Father who loves us and is willing to forgive. We have a Father who is gracious and ‘abounding’ in love. Oh what a wonderful promise! Oh, what a wonderful Father.