When we sin willfully and rebel against God, He continues to love and forgive us. But there are natural consequences to our disobedience, one of which is broken fellowship and communion with God, which may reveal itself in our inability to pray.
In many situations, of course, God may choose to discipline us. But discipline is a reminder that God loves us, for God disciplines those He loves (Heb 12:6).
Discipline is never pleasant, but we must remember that discipline is another form of God’s love, and furthermore, God’s discipline often serves as a means of deliverance.
Discipline is often one of the ways God delivers us from committing even greater sins that will mess up and destroy our lives in even greater ways. So deliverance and discipline often come from the same source.
Take Jonah as an example.
In Jonah 1:17, Jonah finds himself in the belly of a great fish. It could not have been fun. Jonah had sinned terribly against God, and certainly saw his presence in the fish as a form of discipline. But it was also a form of deliverance. God rescued Jonah from death, which is what Jonah thanks God for in chapter 2. Jonah does not learn as much as he could have or should have while he was in the belly of the fish, but at least he learned that God was not going to let him escape his responsibility to preach to Nineveh. So when God called Jonah a second time to go to Nineveh, Jonah went (3:1-2).
This is similar to what happens when we face the discipline of God. We may get placed in a holding pattern until we choose to follow God. We may get sidelines from the major events in the Kingdom of God until we decide to play by God’s rules.
Do you find yourself in a holding pattern with God? Do you feel benched? Are you in the penalty box for decking some guy out on the ice? If so, remember three things.
1. God is With you… Even during Discipline
If you find yourself “going through hell” because of some sort of sin, just remember that God is there with you too. God is everywhere, of course, but God also knows the sting of sin and the pain of death. He went through it on the cross. Though He may discipline you, He does not judge you, for the true penalty for sin has been born by Jesus upon the cross.
2. God is Never Done With You. Never.
God does not sideline people forever. But he does pull people from the game so that they can learn something from the sidelines that cannot be learned in any other way. So take the opportunity to catch your breath and solidify what you know about God and His will for your life. The lessons you learn will be invaluable when He gives you a second chance.
3. Discipline is Your Deliverance
If God had let you continue down the path you were on, even greater destruction would have come. But God pulled you back to deliver you and your loved ones from even greater damage. So in your time of discipline, thank Him for His deliverance.