Sometimes the Word just gets on my nerves…
You know that little “ugh” you feel when you know God is dealing with you about something, but you aren’t ready to face it? Let’s talk about that grating feeling and the consequence of IGNORING and RESISTING. It’s called chastisement. I am a walking (sort of), talking advertisement for it.
I spent six weeks of my summer in the hospital. On June 12, I received a call at work that a particular blood level had reached 14,000 when it should’ve been around 100. Needless to say I was admitted and kept for what seemed like foooorever. As soon as my body hit the bed, my strength left. I couldn’t even roll to one side. I’ll save you the gruesome details of the months leading up to my hospitalization, but I should have died with what was fighting against me. God is merciful.
I’m still trying to be super intentional about reading my healing journal every time I take my prescription meds. One GIVES life while the other gives me acne, a fat face, and a super fast heart rate. But there’s still a resistance in me that has to be worn down.
For as long as I’ve been able to read the Bible, there have been passages of Scripture that made me feel uneasy. They either outrightly convicted me of wrong or grated against my sense of self-righteousness. In either case I’m faced with a choice. I can either let my feelings lead me away from the truth of God’s Word, or I can acknowledge that something is wrong in me because the Word is the truth. I believe this is one reason so many people turn away from the Lord. They will not reconcile that His truth is higher than their personal emotions and opinions. Instead of pursuing truth in Jesus Christ, they take comfort in what they “think” is right which often looks, smells, and feels like philosophy watered down in sentiment, churchy platitudes, and no power or even desire to live right before the Lord.
My healing journal has two verses from Hebrews 12 that make me cringe every single time I read them. Even now I hate how the words flow. I hate the message they convey. I hate how they put a burden of responsibility on me rather than appeal to my hopes that Jesus will miraculously fix it, then I’m off the hook. I feel like the Lord is asking me to do something that is impossible.
I only clung to those two verses of Hebrews 12 (notice I haven’t said which ones… heh), but I knew the rest of the chapter had more answers for me. I dipped and dodged until the rebuke came from my spiritual father, and then I read the chapter over and over and over again like it was my lifeline. And for about a week, I just stared at the hospital walls King Hezekiah-style…
Here’s a snippet of that chapter, and what the Holy Spirit spoke to me in red letters.
Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted. In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. And have you forgotten the exhortation that addresses you as sons?
You didn’t fight hard enough. You didn’t look for your escape. You let your fear of man override your fear of Me. Resist to the shedding of your own blood. When you obey me, you are protected.
“My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor be weary when reproved by him. For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives.”
You’re here because I love you. The enemy wanted to take your life, and you gave him permission to do so.
It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons. For what son is there whom his father does not discipline? If you are left without discipline, in which all have participated, then you are illegitimate children and not sons. Besides this, we have had earthly fathers who disciplined us and we respected them. Shall we not much more be subject to the Father of spirits and live? For they disciplined us for a short time as it seemed best to them, but he disciplines us for our good, that we may share his holiness. For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.
If you don’t go through this, you’ll lose your soul. If you don’t feel the consequences of your choices, you won’t fulfill your destiny. But I have not abandoned you. I’m with you like a GOOD father. Walk with me through the painful seasons, and you will be restored.
Therefore lift your drooping hands and strengthen your weak knees, and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be put out of joint but rather be healed. Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord. See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God; that no “root of bitterness” springs up and causes trouble, and by it many become defiled; that no one is sexually immoral or unholy like Esau, who sold his birthright for a single meal. For you know that afterward, when he desired to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no chance to repent, though he sought it with tears.
Your responsibility is to strengthen yourself physically and to be at peace and live holy. Keep your heart tender towards me, and whenever I show you areas of bitterness, repent so they can be uprooted. Getting caught isn’t repentance. Crying over consequences isn’t repentance. Walk with me as I transform your thinking. One day you’ll look back and not recognize yourself as you are now.
Whatever the Lord has you reading and studying, read it and study it again and again and again. Sometimes we’re so focused on meeting our daily reading quota that we forget to meditate on the Word, and that’s where transformation usually comes. Those scriptures that annoy you should be your dwelling place until the Lord leads you somewhere else. When you walk, recite them. When you wash the dishes, ask the Lord to teach you about them. The Lord will cause you to dream and remember things that need to be healed and dealt with so you can live freely.
Endure the little chastisement so you aren’t binding up your wrists and knees and learning how to walk again like those of us who are a bit more… oh… disobedient. Y’all keep me lifted!
With love, sincerity, and hope for your future,