Give Thanks for God’s Discipline
Open Your Bible
Psalm 94:12-15, Psalm 119:62, Proverbs 4:1-9, Ezekiel 33:7-15, Luke 17:3-4
BY Guest Writer
Scripture Reading: Psalm 94:12-15, Psalm 119:62, Proverbs 4:1-9, Ezekiel 33:7-15, Luke 17:3-4
For the past five or six months, I’ve struggled with an insomnia of sorts. If I take a sleeping aid, I fall asleep quickly—but then wake in the middle of the night, wide-eyed and alert. If I don’t take a sleeping aid, I lay in bed for hours with my mind racing. I should put a little notebook at my bedside where I can jot down all the brilliant ideas I’ve had as my husband and pup snore softly in the darkness of our room. I would probably be more productive in the morning, armed with a list of midnight solutions.
Along with those sleepless moments of clarity, though, there have been painful realizations about my character and personality—things I’m less likely to want to collect in a bedside notebook. Areas of my heart where fear, guilt, or shame arise. Places I’d rather the Lord not see or address in my thought-patterns or ruminations. I feel my frailty in those night-time hours, far more than I feel them the following morning.
David, too, knew the vulnerability of the night and of God’s discipline to him in it.
“I rise at midnight to thank you
for your righteous judgments.”
– Psalm 119:62
In sleeplessness, David—the one after own God’s heart, whom God relentlessly pursued for His purposes—thanked God for His righteous judgments. He thanked God for keeping His promise to deal with sin, to not overlook it. The fact that God disciplined David for his sin and it kept David awake at night, shows God to be attentive to sin and to His children who wrestle with it.
Jesus Christ has taken our punishment in full, the recompense for our sin. But the pressing discipline of God, shaping and forming us more in His likeness, is the promise of the Father to all His children (Hebrews 12:6). In Psalm 94, David speaks again of the Lord’s discipline, describing it as a “relief from troubled times” because “the administration of [His] justice will again be righteous, and all the upight in heart will follow it” (vv.13.15). And so by pressing in to God’s discipline, instead of away from it, we will gain His wisdom and understanding—“a garland of favor” on our heads, a “crown of beauty” (Proverbs 4:1–7).
I don’t know when those moments of restlessness and conviction happen for you, when you see the discipline of God as both painful and good, difficult and righteous. Maybe it’s when you’re up late into the dark morning hours. Or perhaps when you are confronted with a difficult situation or person. Or maybe it happens when you’re simply bored or sad, withdrawing just enough to finally be still and listen.
I can choose to be thankful for God’s attentiveness as He reveals my heart to me, or I can continue to run from His discipline. But I want be like David, instead—intentional with my waking moments and grateful to God that He never sleeps or slumbers through my life (Psalm 121:4). He is always with with me, ready to awaken me to His righteous judgments, which are always for my good and His glory.
Lore Ferguson Wilbert is a writer, thinker, and learner. She blogs at Sayable, and tweets and instagrams at @lorewilbert. She has a husband named Nate, a puppy named Harper Nelle, and too many books to read in one lifetime.