I recently spent 180 consecutive days in the hospital caring for my wife, who had been stricken by necrotizing pancreatitis during vacation, 1000 miles from home. Lea was in a drug induced coma that physically paralyzed her for 78 days, while doctors performed over 30 surgical procedures on her. Statistically, she had a 15% chance of survival. After clinically dying four times, and being revived, she eventually recovered and was released to begin the long road to recovery.
During her illness I was able to explore just how important she has been to me in so many ways, as wife, friend and lover, and I was led to share my thoughts by email with family and a growing list of friends as her ordeal unfolded. I also grew much closer to God, as I drew on His strength and sovereign power to guide me through the trials and despair of each tortuous day.
But, it wasn’t until after the hospital stay was over, and a very feeble Lea started recovery, that I began to fully understand the lessons I had been given. When we returned to the Midwest, we were led to attend a church new to us. We had planned to visit the church years before, but just never seemed to make it. Now, I felt led to visit there. As soon as Lea was strong enough to sit up for an hour at a time, we made our way to the morning service.
The minister was teaching from Hebrews chapter 12, where God’s discipline for His children is discussed. Over the next several weeks, I felt the sermon was being directed specifically at me, as the work the Lord had done in my life over the past few months was being revealed, and I came to understand my obligation to share my testimony with all who would listen. That’s really what this web site is all about; sharing that testimony.
Scripture is very clear that you cannot accept Christ and then just live any way you please. And, God, our heavenly Father, takes our obligation to serve Him seriously. Like earthly fathers, He often has to take action to protect us from ourselves. Sometimes that disciplinary action is harsh. Often it hurts . . . a lot.
We need to understand, though, that when we are disciplined by a loving heavenly father it is not to discourage us, it is to encourage us. It is ALWAYS corrective, never meaningless! God uses discipline to help His children grow in grace, and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, that they might carry out their assigned personal ministries.
Proverbs 3:11-13 teaches: “My son, do not reject the discipline of the Lord, or loathe His reproof, for whom the Lord loves He reproves, even as a father, the son in whom he delights. How blessed is the man who finds wisdom, and the man who gains understanding.”
Even when we sense God’s disciplining hand upon us we should be encouraged by this, for it shows that God is at work in our lives. Therefore, we should not lose heart or faint when being disciplined. God will never go too far in His discipline.