When my son, Luke, was two, I received a call from his preschool. He had tripped while running and fell flat on his face. Well, not flat actually, because his head came to rest on a toy that was just pointy enough to do some damage. It was not pretty--my little boy had a deep gash in his forehead.
We went to his pediatrician, who recommended going to the emergency room. A plastic surgeon was going to meet us there. He did not need plastic surgery, but it made me feel better to think that someone in the cosmetic field would be doing the stitches. I was hoping he could keep my son, Luke, from having a permanent scar.
We had been waiting several hours when the doctor finally arrived. He had me hold Luke down since they were short staffed. Luke gazed into my eyes with a look that said, “Why are you letting him do this to me?”. It hurt me to watch the stitches go in while I held my terror struck boy down, but I knew it was for his own good. The short trial would be over soon and the healing process would begin.
The whole situation reminded me of how God deals with us. It is not fun to endure the natural consequences for our sin, but it helps us learn. Often we realize we are on the wrong path through his gentle prompting. He longs to free us from the pain of our bad decisions, but knows consequences are ultimately part of the healing process.
There are times when we turn our back on God. Rather than rethinking our actions, we plunge headlong into sin’s deadly embrace. This can result in scarring that we carry as a painful reminder of our former selves.
Within days, Luke had pulled his stitches out (Ouch!), leading to a permanent scar on his forehead. I thought of all the wasted time in the ER that ultimately resulted in nothing. We are often convicted by God, and know where He wants us, only to pull out the stitches and choose our own way.
Solomon reminds his son, “My child, don’t reject the Lord’s discipline, and don’t be upset when he corrects you. For the Lord corrects those he loves, just as a father corrects a child in whom he delights" (Proverbs 3:11-12). We need to realize that the discipline process is a healthy one, designed to lovingly correct and bring us back into His fold.
Learning from our mistakes and accepting responsibility for our actions leads to growth. It is this attitude of embracing discipline that caused God to call David a man after his own heart. Would we have the courage to ask God to show us where we have gone wrong well before correcting is needed? Try to imagine David’s passion for God as he prays the following words, “Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life” (Psalm 139:23-24).
My advice? The next time God does a check up—leave the stitches in.