I was provoked by a brother-in-Christ the other day to read a daily devotional he had received via email. What struck me as I read the wonderful message it contained were two English words used in the two complimentary passages from which it sprung: Proverbs 3:11-12 and Hebrews 12:5-11. Both deal with the Lord’s administering loving discipline to His children. That they are directly related is made clear by the fact that the Hebrews’ passage begins with a reference to the passage in Proverbs. In Hebrews the English word of interest is "chastening." However, in Proverbs the Greek word used is translated "corrrection.”
Now, to me, chastening almost always reminds me of something "painful," something that usually involves the loss of something. I say this without bitterness for I’ve learned that any "loss" associated with the loving work of God in my life always works for my good, for my ultimate blessing. But the word "correction" provoked a different thought as I read the devotional that morning.
As I read the word "correction" I immediately thought of a ship having its course corrected by a wise captain so that it would reach its intended destination on time and without loss! Think about it. When a ship is on a long journey, if its course gets off even a small fraction of one degree, by the time it travels many days, it is many, many, many miles off course, perhaps heading straight into very real danger, and its occupants may not even know it! If it is not discovered that it is “off course” and its course corrected quickly, great and potentially irrecoverable loss can occur. At the very least its arrival at its destination will be late. Worse, it may run into damaging storms, icebergs, or other dangers which might destroy it and all who are on board.
When I receive the "chastening" of my Lord from now on, I'm going to bring my thoughts into captivity and turn them back to the day when I was reminded how gracious is my heavenly Father's chastening. I have no idea how many disasters I have been spared over the course of my life because the Lord loved me enough to correct my course. Only He knows His desired destination for me, and sometimes (most times?) only He knows if I am heading somewhere else. Praise God He loves me enough to turn me so that I don't get lost and end up not only hurting myself, but others who are "on board my ship" with me. If I were left to my own devices, there is no telling where I would end up.
So be encouraged today Christian. The Captain of your salvation will bring you to His peaceful and prosperous haven of rest if you will but allow Him. He knows what is best. Pray for ears to hear the voice of your Shepherd, and a heart to follow His leading. His ways are perfect, past finding out. In Him you are safe.
Thank you, Lord, for speaking to my heart very directly, very personally. Truly, your "compassions fail not, They are new every morning: Great is thy faithfulness." (Lam 3:22-23)
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