7-9 Bear what you have to bear as “chastening”—as God’s dealing with you as sons. No true son ever grows up uncorrected by his father. For if you had no experience of the correction which all sons have to bear you might well doubt the legitimacy of your sonship. After all, when we were children we had fathers who corrected us, and we respected them for it. Can we not much more readily submit to a heavenly Father’s discipline, and learn how to live?
J. B. Phillips, “The New Testament in Modern English”, 1962 edition by HarperCollins
The kittens are pictured at ten days old. Every day since their birth it has rained and stormed. My breakfast room overlooks their nursery and I can watch as the storm rages, safely inside drinking my coffee and accompanied by the housecats.
These kittens will be destined for a rural life, keepers of the barn, and must develop the skills to become self-sufficient hunters. The housecats feel they are exerting themselves when they sash to their never-ending bowl of kibble.
I must restrain from interfering with their development. It would be so tempting to snatch them all (mother included) and place them securely into a nice dry, warm box in my garage. With the easy access of clean water, fresh kibble, and shelter, they would turn into weak hunters with no reserve for the brutal outdoors of prey.
I decide to stay out of nature’s way. I have to let go and let them be damp under the thundering skies. They must learn not to fear the storms and develop the strength to persevere till the next hunt.
It is agonizing to think of their fate. I know what disease and travail lies ahead for a feral beast. I can provide food for the mother to nourish them; maybe that is too much interference.
How like we are under the eye of our Heavenly Father. He watches… restraining Himself from doing what He knows will make us weak and ill prepared for the storms ahead. He is sovereignly capable of changing the laws of nature, the mind of man, and the fate of the universe; yet He withholds great power on our behalf to create within us the reserve and fortitude we will need. He knows what lies ahead.
How like the kittens we are; snuggled in our nest oblivious to the dangers around us. Unaware of the great struggle that awaits them, they lie lazily nestled into their mom with complete trust. But, the storm rages all around.
I am in a storm. My Heavenly Father watches, holding back for my good. He allows the rain to pelt my face, sting my back, to blind me sometimes, so that I will toughen up for the trial ahead. Like me perched in my breakfast room watching the kitten nest in the thunderstorm, He sits on His throne guiding my steps through my pain to let me suffer so I may grow. I snuggle into Him and trust.