By Aaron Elder
In my last post, I wrote about the relationship between Grace, Discipline and Changing Diapers as it pertains to our role as parents. We’re given a responsibility from God and we are to carry it out as an act of obedience to Him. Today I’m going to shift the target. Let’s talk about us. Let’s talk about adult stuff.
God spanked me on January 1st of 2018 and it hurt. Let me explain.
I run a financial services practice and my Q4 in 2017 was the worst quarter I’ve ever had. Now before you get to feeling sorry for me, I need to give some background. I had a great Q3 – one of my BEST ever and I got complacent. I allowed the activity that drove my Q3 results to slip. I wasn’t doing the work consistently and I wasn’t watching our family budget closely.
So, as the Holiday Season wound down, I opened our statements to take stock in our situation. I knew we needed some work, but here’s what I didn’t expect: to meet our family and business budget, I would need to increase my business production by almost 100%! Whack! Came the paddle. Because of my lack of foresight, I had almost nothing in inventory January 1. Whack! Came the paddle again. My stress increased and I began to wonder if I could be successful or if I had been kidding myself all along. Whack! Came the paddle a third time.
In that moment, with my proverbial rear stinging, I understood something I never had before: the circumstances I was standing in were exactly what I had earned and deserved. And I was being disciplined by God as a work of His grace.
In the past, I looked at these types of circumstances and pointed to a peer and said, “Why does he get all the breaks?” “If I got the same breaks he did, I’d be doing even BETTER than him.” And on and on and on.
But because I belong to God, He disciplines me to demonstrate His favor. I needed to repent. I’m figuring out that a stress response to my circumstances is God’s gracious discipline warning me to repent again and trust Him. To walk in courage and not as a coward.
And so I’m learning to be thankful for God’s discipline as I see that he does so because He loves me, because He is good, and, ultimately, because I’m his.
Maybe you’re reading this and like Gary Coleman from Different Strokes, you have your head cocked to the side thinking, “Whachoo talkin’ bout Willis?” In Romans 1, Paul writes that for those who walk in disobedience to God, God turns them over to the desires of their flesh. God’s discipline stops me short of the ill-fated results I deserve and instead of destruction, God lavishes on grace.