We are continuing our theme today in regards to suffering, and more specifically, why God allows bad things to happen.
Fourth, God allows bad things to happen to demonstrate His chastening. Chastening is defined as the inflicting of suffering for purposes of moral improvement or a recalling to duty. The writer of Hebrews says in Hebrews 12:5-8, “…My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him: For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not? But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons.” The very fact that God does indeed chasten us is proof that we are His children!
Think about it for a moment. I’m not going to chastise your children. They are not mine, but yours. It’s your responsibility to correct them when they go astray because they belong to you! As Christians, we belong to God. Therefore, as His children, he chastises us because we are His! Why does God do this? - Because He loves us.
Hebrews 12:9-11 says, “Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live? For they verily for a few days chastened us after their own pleasure; but he for our profit, that we might be partakers of his holiness. Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.”
God wants us to be partakers of his holiness and to yield the peaceable fruit of righteousness. That’s impossible without chastening. God wants us to be perfect (complete). It says in Matthew 5:48, “Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect.” And in Colossians 1:28, “Him we preach, warning every man and teaching every man in all wisdom, that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus.” That’s quite an expectation!
It reminds me of Job when he went through his ordeal. In the end, he came out repentant when he said, “I know that thou canst do everything, and that no thought can be withholden from thee. Who is he that hideth counsel without knowledge? therefore have I uttered that I understood not; things too wonderful for me, which I knew not. Hear, I beseech thee, and I will speak: I will demand of thee, and declare thou unto me. I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear: but now mine eye seeth thee. Wherefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes.”
When our suffering is at the hand of God’s chastening rod, we should come out the same way: repentant and closer to what God wants of us. It says in 2 Peter 3:9 that the “…Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” God’s chastening is designed to bring about repentance in our lives.