If you endure chastening, God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there who a father does not chasten.Hebrews 12:7
There were times while growing up I heard my father get loud. But I never heard him scream at me, nor at my sisters. Compared to me he was a big and very strong man, but not necessarily a loud person to be around. But if you did something wrong and he was made aware of it, his voice would elevate to the level equal or greater to your infraction. The worse the infraction, the louder he would get. So my perspective on being loud or yelling was based on my first 19 years of life being around my father.
But that all changed when I went into the Marine Corps. As soon as I got off the bus at Parris Island, South Carolina I had a Drill Instructor (DI) in my face screaming at the top of his lungs words that were hard to understand and when I did finally comprehend them, they were filled with insults, vulgarity, and adjectives, that went way beyond the protocol of most civilized societies. Apparently, my invasion into the Drill Instructor’s Corps was enough to irritate him to no end, and it was at that time I really understood what screaming was like and it was nothing like I heard at home. It seemed like the DI’s soul mission was to destroy me and my soul mission was to survive it. In the end I survived, but for years I thought it was a close call.
Now, most of us who have served in the armed forces understand that a DI’s greatest desire is not your elimination off planet earth, but to train you up to become part of the military family. It matters little what particular branch of service you join. I have heard similar stories from all branches of the services and the primary task of all military instructors is to get you to stop thinking and doing as you did as a civilian, and get you to think and act like military. I once heard someone say, “There is a right way of doing things, and there is a wrong way of doing things, and then there is the military way of doing things.” And trust me when I say this, fifty plus years ago, the Marine Corps way of doing bootcamp incorporated a lot of screaming and physical contact.
HOW CAN A LOVING GOD SCREAM AT YOU?
Let me begin by saying God is not a Cosmic Drill Instructor. To make a comparison between our loving Father and a Marine Corps Drill Instructor… well, at the very least it is insulting to Him. But at the same time we understand what the Scriptures say, “And have you forgotten the exhortation which speaks to you as to sons: ‘My son, do not despise the chastening of the LORD, nor be discouraged when you are rebuked by Him; For whom the LORD loves He chastens, and scourges every son whom He receives.’” (Hebrews 12:5-6) As you read this passage you are reminded of where it was first written, Proverbs 3:11-12. Apparently, the writer of Hebrews was reminding his readers of what they may have forgotten about God’s loving care for His children. So, this is just a reminder to us also, lest we forget that at times, God will in a very loving way SCREAM at us.
So, what should we learn from a loving God, who only wants His best for our life, when He screams at us? Let me suggest TWO BASIC TRAINING TRUTHS found in Hebrews 12:5-7.
FIRST, YOU ARE ADDRESSED AS SONS BECAUSE OF JESUS CHRIST
First of all I want to clarify the comment “when God screams at you.” I hope it is obvious that we all understand that God isn’t like a parent that has lost all control or decorum with their children because of a perceived or real infraction on the child’s part. God never loses control, He is always exact in His care for His children, His discipline is always within the boundaries of His goodness, gentleness, kindness, and most of all His love. But He does get our attention and at times if you have been under His discipline, it is like He is screaming to get our attention. So why would He discipline (scream at) us?
First and foremost, it is because of His Son Jesus Christ and our relationship to Him. Follow my logic here. Jesus had to learn to be obedient. We are told in Hebrews 5:8-9—“though He was a Son, yet He learned obedience by the things which He suffered. And having been perfected, He became the author of eternal salvation to all who obey Him…” One commentary put it right by saying, “To be sure, the suffering of Christ is unique; it cannot and need not be repeated by his followers. However, the principle of discipline remains the same. Scripture addresses the followers of Jesus as sons, and thus they can expect correction and rebuke.” To put it in military terms; when I signed up to be a Christian by accepting by faith, God’s provision of Jesus’ blood sacrifice on the cross (death, burial, and resurrection) I became a “Son of God”, thus my identity is forever wrapped up in Him. You and I are forever more children of the Most High God and with that identity comes our need to be obedient to the will of the Father just like the Son of God had to “learn” obedience all the way to the cross.
SECOND, GOD IS OUR FATHER
We all recognize the fact that we have a biological father. You may have grown up without his presence, but the fact remains, because you are here, you have or had a father. That being said, all of us who have the Son as Savior also have a Heavenly Father and as our personal Father, He “chastens.” This might sound strange, but God’s discipline is one of the ways we know He is our Father and we are His children. And this might sound even stranger, I like hearing from Him when I am going down the wrong path. As a matter of fact, I like Him to scream at me. Why would I want my Heavenly Father to scream at me? Because I want to be obedient even when I know I am not. And if it takes me to endure His chastening then all the better because in the end “chastening” (discipline) is a privilege that God extends to those He loves to let them know exactly who they belong to, who they are biologically connected to through the blood of His Son. And here is the kicker, if you are one of His children, He will never disown you, He will never give you up, you are for all eternity, connected to His eternal hip.
So, the next time when God screams at you, look up and tell everyone around you, “That’s my Father who’s screaming at me!” And say it with a smile because you are one of His children.
This is Pastor Pat FROM BEHIND THE PEN wishing you Joy in Jesus!