Returning to Your First Love

Devotional

Jesus Calls Us to God’s Loving Chastening

The chastening of the Lord is not the end of the story, as it would seem. This discipline is not the end of our path, as discouragement can whisper. It is the Lord’s means of bringing us to the glorious end that is our promised future. That wonderful end is sure: He will also heal. He has torn us, but He will heal us. He has chastened us, but afterward, we will be restored and bear the fruit of righteousness.

Rather, the silence and the delay, the painful circumstances along the path that test and wound, are all servants to His greater purpose. They are meant to purify us for the purpose of greater love.

He will, in fact, answer our prayers even through the means of these troubles—if we receive and respond to Him rightly in them. If we have made our lives about Him—considered Him the gain, though we lose all else, making Him our boast and that which we consider the aim of our lives—then these chastening seasons, and even all the trials we undergo, work to produce that holy ambition in us. We endure the discipline and subject ourselves to our Father, and these difficult trials become His preparatory agents to ready us for the dream of our hearts: friendship with Him—the very answer to our prayers.

Without exception, all testing and suffering are invitations to greater intimacy with Jesus. Every season of pain we encounter can be received as summons from God to know Him in a greater way. There is no intrinsic value in pain, and it is important to understand that God hates pain, sickness, and suffering. His plan is to forever judge and vanquish it.

So, we contend against the adversary and sickness while, at the same time, we receive the chastening that such circumstances bring to our souls, saying yes to the invitation of greater friendship and intimacy with Jesus that these escorts bring. We receive the chastising that such circumstances bring to our souls as an invitation toward greater friendship and intimacy with Jesus.

Questions to Ponder: Have times of testing and suffering in your life driven you away from God or drawn you closer to Him? In what ways? What is the benefit of God’s “chastising,” and how can it bring you into a greater friendship with the Lord?