After finishing the modern equivalent of being a hunter-gatherer who had returned from a dangerous foray into the wild to secure food (yep, went to Wal-Mart & Sam’s), I was in our kitchen basking in the glow of appreciation while Frances and I were putting away the “kill.”
I know, I know, many of you guys are thinking “Oh if I could only be brave enough, and strong enough to do something like that!” May I say (ahem!) I didn’t do anything any red-blooded, living and healthy husband anywhere wouldn’t also do if they were told to go get food – or else!
So there I was, fully appreciating my skills as a modern day hunter-gatherer. I was oh, so carefully putting away my extra-large box of Lucky Charms (this is a necessary part of the “Real Men Eat Lucky Charms” diet). I vaguely remember looking into the eyes of my adoring and appreciative wife, then, bending down to retrieve my box of Animal Crackers (you know, the ones in the box that looks like an animal cage) and while I was about to say something pithy and wise to my wife, my whole world suddenly came completely unhinged!
For one brief moment, I thought perhaps I had a stroke, or at least some kind of cerebral infarction! I remember hearing and feeling the air pressure change right before my world exploded into a cacophony of sound and light! As I picked myself up off the floor, struggling to remember what day it was or if I knew my phone number, Frances informed me there was a mosquito on my cheek and knowing my aversion to bugs and insects, she killed it.
Of course, she had to slap me silly in order to rid the world of this blood-sucking threat! Struggling to see the crumpled remains of this microscopic menace, I remember her telling me how thankful I should be that she loved me so much to spare me the agony of the beast’s vicious bite.
In the days since my recovery from this “near death” experience (Hey! This is my story and I’m sticking to it!) I recalled a very important principle in this. For anyone other than my wife to have done this to me (yes of course, she has cart blanche and can pretty much get away with anything because I adore her), this would have caused a fight and a big one! What enabled my understanding of my wife’s motives is the relationship I have with her; our relationship allows us to care for one another—even when that care can be, uh . . er . . . “painful” at times!
God tells us in His Word, “The Lord disciplines the one He loves, and punishes every son He receives.” There are many times in our lives when God punishes us not only because we are doing something we should not be doing, but also because what we are doing will cause us harm. We know the circumstances we face are from God through our experience with Him and the presence of God’s Spirit which indwells every believer who knows Christ as their Savior!
What motivates God’s discipline is His love for us. Often when God disciplines us, we might think He has overreacted and perhaps been heavy handed in our discipline. “It really wasn’t that big an issue, right?” Often it isn’t that God was heavy handed but we think far too little of the travesty of the sin we have committed. We want to “laugh it off” as some small mistake; but we habitually overlook the price He paid for our sin. We place great value on cars which decrease in value, on homes which can burn or be destroyed in a storm, but we overlook the cost associated with the removal of our sin so we might have a relationship with the One who created everything, God Himself died – for us and in our place—when Jesus Christ died on the Cross!
We can do unbelievable damage to ourselves: we can drink ourselves to death, overdose on drugs, catch untold diseases by having sexual relationships outside of marriage and we can be hurt physically and emotionally. We must remember it isn’t the degree of the sin that is evil; it is the fact we have sinned at all! Whether it is a small lie, a stray thought or an uncontrolled action – any and all of these will keep us away from God! If it were not for Christ’s death, we could never experience the forgiveness which gives healing and life.
Here’s a bizarre thought: we should want discipline. No, no, I do not want to experience the life-saving efforts of my lovely wife anytime soon, but I do desire a relationship with her. Discipline is not always corrective; it is sometimes willfully taken for future ability. Runners discipline themselves through exercise in order they might compete and win. God disciplines us—sometimes through allowing us to “reap” whatever we have “sown”—to correct us and to demonstrate we are His.
It would be easy to desire to simply avoid all pain and inconvenience. Yet as desirable as having “no pain” would be, it loses its luster if it means I no longer know I have a relationship.
Being slapped silly every now and then isn’t so bad now is it?