This morning I woke up much earlier than normal, thinking about pain. I developed an infection that came from a tooth, which I had to have pulled Monday afternoon. Even days later the infection is still painful. In my follow-up yesterday, some of the packing was removed (and boy did that hurt!) and there will be several follow-up appointments to remove more and more of the “packing” that is helping the infection to drain. This (and the antibiotics) are the correct path to removing the infection in order to restore my health.
The infection is poisoning my body, and the poison must be removed. Likewise, sin poisons our souls. When we accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior, He washes us clean from sin. But as we are living in a sinful, fallen world sin begins to creep back into our lives. The Lord will discipline us in order to restore us. “No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.” (Heb. 12:11)
One of my first thoughts this morning was that although the infection seemed to come on suddenly, my oral surgeon told me that the infection was quite severe and must have been there for quite some time, and I just didn’t notice what was going on. I think that is how the poison of sin is, it starts small and we may not even notice its affects. However, sin begets sin and before we know it, it seems to run through every crevice.
The Lord, because He loves us and hates sin, will discipline us. He will show us what in our lives we need to change. If we look at the second part of today’s verse, He promises “a harvest of righteousness and peace”, but first must suffer to become like Jesus. Everything in this world is under God’s control. God’s providence, His care and guidance of all things, will lead us into discipline. It is discipline that is for our own good, but it is also very painful. “My son, do not despise the Lord’s discipline, and do not resent His rebuke, because the Lord disciplines those He loves, as a father the son he delights in.” (Prov. 3:11-12)
So this morning, I thank the Lord for the pain that I can endure joyfully. My joy comes not from the pain, but from His great and unfathomable love He has for me. He loves me so much that He sent His Son to endure death on the cross to pay for my sins. And He loves me enough to discipline me — that means He thinks I’m worth it! And He thinks the same about you. And after the pain, He promises “a harvest of righteousness and peace”.