Coaches are always tougher on the players they think have talent and potential. It’s true. Ask any coach worth his salt, and he’ll tell you he pushes hardest the guys with with the most room to grow.
When you’re a young player, this can be confusing. It’s easy to think the coach has it out for you, or he’s just picky, or maybe he doesn’t understand what motivates you. I know a handful of athletes who have walked away from their respective sports because they got tired of the tough love. Over the years, some of them have expressed regret, or at least curiosity about what might have been if they had stuck with it.
Much like a good coach, God disciplines those whom He loves. The difference is that God loves all His children. This is why we see the psalmist thanking God for His correction. He knows God’s discipline enters our lives to wisely and lovingly form us in ways that would otherwise be impossible.
In fact, it was so important to the psalmist that he was losing sleep over it. He didn’t haphazardly express thanks during his morning coffee; he rose in the middle of the night to cry out to God and praise Him for His goodness in providing correction and judgement (Psalm 119:62).
The writer of Proverbs 4 reminds his sons of these same truths. A good father disciplines his son for his son’s good. It is not a form of punishment or retribution. It is not driven by rage, but by love and compassion. This can be difficult to sort out, especially if your experience of discipline from your earthly parents was unhealthy or non-existent. Discipline is meant to lead to character formation and growth.
God is a perfect Father, and His approach to discipline is trustworthy, steady, and lovingly tailored to each of His children, providing just what we need, when we need it. Of course, it may not feel pleasant in the moment—discipline rarely is—but the more we know the heart of the Father, the more we will trust His loving correction in our lives.
As you spend time in the Word today, seek the Father’s loving heart for you. Ask Him to show you areas of your life that need His correction, guidance, and encouragement. And as you pray, search those places of discomfort, and be willing to submit to God in order to change and grow. If you’re experiencing uncomfortable but necessary correction, ask God to give you a glimpse of where He’s leading you—and the strength to grow more like Him.
Written by Andrew Stoddard