Hebrews 12: 8 If you are not disciplined (and all of us have received it), then you are illegitimate children and not sons. 9 In addition, we have earthly fathers who disciplined us, and we respected them. Should we not submit even more to the Father of the spirits and live? 10 They disciplined us for a little while, according to what seemed best to them, but God disciplines us for our good, so that we may have a share in his holiness.
A long time ago, when we had little children at home, my wife did some daycare for a few friends. Sometimes, when I came home for lunch, I would play with the children while Linda did the dishes and cleaned up the kitchen. I noticed something that made me thankful that my wife stayed home with our children until they went to school. I didn’t discipline the children in our care the same way I disciplined my own. I was actually firmer with my own children, because I knew them intimately. I knew when I had to be firm and when I could be more gentle. That wasn’t true of the other children, because I didn’t know them as a Father.
Our heavenly Father disciplines us as his own dear children, dearly loved for Jesus’ sake, adopted to be his own in baptism. All of us as parents admit to our faults and failings in raising our children. I have often confessed my neglect as a parent to my heavenly Father. Our heavenly Father is like a really good earthly father, only a thousand times better. He knows when to be firm and when to be gentle. He lays burdens on us that we are able to bear, even though the load sometimes seems very heavy. He gives us just enough trouble to make us trust in him, but not so much that we despair. And always he speaks his words of love and assurance to us through his Word. The words above do just that for us today. They assure us of our Father’s perfect love even as he disciplines us. Prayer: Dear Father, abba Father, thank you for making me your own and accepting me as your dearly loved child for Jesus’ sake. You have been my perfect Father. You are always there when I need you. You discipline me in love and not in anger, so that I might share in your holiness. Remind me every moment today that I am your dear child, so that in all I do, I may give you glory. Amen.