My son, do not despise the Lord’s discipline or be weary of his reproof, for the Lord reproves him whom he loves, as a father the son in whom he delights.
Proverbs 3:11-12 (ESV)
On several occasions I have heard older preachers refer to divine discipline as being taken to the woodshed by God. In a previous time when people used wood as a source for heat, the shed was a good place to find a good paddle for spanking a wayward kid. No kid looked forward to a visit to the woodshed with mom or dad. Actually that is an unfortunate and misleading metaphor for being disciplined by the heavenly Father.
It implies that as we live under his watchful eyes, he is looking for things that will warrant dusting our pants. Often parents will let offenses build until a spanking is earned. Some have mentioned that their mother often said, “I’ve had just about enough…” When she has had enough, a trip to the shed is coming. Is God just waiting as his impatience is being depleted by our obstinacy? Is there a woodshed in our future?
God disciplines us from the perspective of a father who delights in his sons. He doesn’t want to hurt them or cause them to live in dreaded fear of failure. He is seeking to remove every thought that does not align with that of a son who delights in his Father. It is “orphanity” that he is trying to eradicate. It is bondage that he hates. He seeks to liberate those whom he loves.
Actually, Jesus represented us and was taken to the ultimate woodshed. He took the punishment of our rebellion so that eternal justice does not have a claim on us. Because he was punished for our sins, we can be disciplined by our Father to view everything through the eyes of beloved sons.
We either despise the Lord’s discipline or we delight in it. If we despise it, we are tolerating it as if we are “serving time” as being punished. When it is over we live as if under probation until the next episode. If we delight, though it might be painful, we trust the goodness of Father who created us, redeemed us, and continues to liberate us from our own delusions. We are intent not to forget that we are in Christ, and it is that union that defines us.