Wednesday, 4 February 2009

Whom the Lord Loves, He Disciplines

Posted: 04 Feb 2009 01:00 AM CST
Heb 12:4-7, 11-15 / Mk 6:1-6
How often have you thought to yourself, “There’s no justice in this world. The rich get richer, the poor get poorer. The evil prosper, and the good are left in outer darkness.” It surely seems that way at times, and the “why” of it all seems a great mystery. Why is that good woman who never did harm to anyone suddenly left alone as the sole support of four tiny children? Why did this freak accident cause permanent damage to the finest young dad in the parish? Why did that good priest have to suffer so much from his tormentors? So many whys and so few answers.

The mystery of evil is exactly that, a mystery. But we can gain some insight and some leverage in dealing with it by attending to a line in today’s epistle: “Whom the Lord loves, he disciplines.” Before we dash into misunderstanding, we need to clarify the meaning of “discipline.” To discipline is to teach, not to punish. What the passage suggests is that the Lord at times ALLOWS certain evils in order to draw forth some larger good — which, unfortunately, may not be immediately visible to us. God’s view is long term, and ours is so short.

If we believe that God is indeed a loving father, then the corollary is that in God’s good time all things will work for the good of those who trust him — even if we never see it clearly in our own lifetime. So make your heart open to being taught and re-formed. In the Lord, we have the greatest and most loving teacher of all.

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