Do you fear God? Did you fear your parent’s discipline when you were young? Did your parents have your best interest in mind when they disciplined you? Is God trying to guide and help you when He disciplines you now?
One of my greatest fears when I was a young man was my father’s wrath! The weapons he chose to inflict pain and comprehension would vary from his hand to a belt to possibly a buggy whip. The whippings were not nearly as bad as the fearful anticipation leading up to the punishment. There was no escaping what was coming! Most of my spankings were well deserved but some were not. Do I have any regrets? No, I don’t, they developed a sense of respect and responsibility in my life that I have always held onto. My physical discipline ended around age 15 and I was left to my own devices. God leaves me on my own for about 20 years and then came to the conclusion that my father didn’t get the job done and I needed some refresher courses! From age 35 until present day He took over disciplinary actions. He has been very understanding and consistent with His teachings. If my poor decisions are minor, I am reminded in a gentle way to get my act together and most of the time that does the trick. When my sins put me in danger; he sends me for surgery and gives me some downtime to consider the consequences of my actions. Most of the time the surgeries involve my legs, in other words, God kneecaps me! The timing of his discipline is usually within a couple of hours of my poor behavior and other times it is within minutes! Occasionally He has gotten my attention via my horses needing surgery! Some of the classes that I needed to repeat have involved alcohol, drugs, women and gambling. I will share with you an example concerning drugs and a horse that happened a long time ago. As I have said in the past, I have had problems with addiction. The event I am going to describe happened after I completed rehab in Charleston, SC to stop painkillers. I was doing very well at the time and considered my stint in the rehab a success. Along comes a rather large bump in the road and a difficult test for my rehabilitation! My back went out in a bad way and after several test were completed, I needed disc surgery. After the surgery, I was put on pain killers. I had mixed emotions about this but felt that I would be strong enough to stop them when the time came. Now as I get close to running out of the pills, I am faced with the decision to refill the prescription. I am still in a lot of pain but feel the right thing to do is to stop now! I start having this internal battle that goes on for a couple days. I finally came to the conclusion that I should refill the prescription and stop next week. Actually the addict in me made that decision and I fell to his desires. I drove to the pharmacy and picked up the prescription and then headed back to the farm. As soon as I pulled into the driveway, my father ran up to me and told me that a yearling that I bred and owned was hurt badly out in his paddock! I immediately looked over in the passenger seat at the bag containing the painkillers. I swallowed, put my head down in shame and held back the tears. I knew why he was hurt and I knew who was to blame! Later that night, the pills were flushed down the toilet but the damage was done. The horse recovered but was never a hundred percent after that. Neither was my heart.
This was one example of many falls that I have taken. Each one of them were just as painful as the event described above. Thankfully in most of the other instances, the pain was directed at me and not my horses. They were all shocking and revealing in their own way. God’s timing was perfect and in each and every case, I thanked him for caring enough to discipline a wretch like me!
So here I am at sixty-one years old and I have come to the conclusion that I can always trust God to guide me in the right direction when I get off course. I have also come to the conclusion that he is a very patient God….