“Surely it was for my benefit that I suffered such anguish. In your love you kept me from the pit of destruction; you have put all my sins behind your back.”
Isaiah 38:17, NIV

I only received three “whippins” from my dad growing up in Oklahoma. Mother administered hundreds of spankings but it was those three from dad that I never forgot! Of the three, there is one that tops the list.

I was only six, but I knew better. A black man was weeding a garden when some older neighborhood boys gave me a rake, told me to poke him and call him a name, a name that to this very day I absolutely detest. I was only six, but I knew better.

What I did not know was that someone was watching, and that evening a neighbor knocked on our door and exposed my sin. Right before my punishment, I remember dad saying, “I am only doing this because I love you.” You could not convince my backside that what he was doing was associated with love! My father then put me in his car and drove me to the yardman’s home. He instructed me to go to the door and ask forgiveness. “I will be waiting for you right here when you are finished,” my dad said.

What I thought was the greatest pain I would ever experience actually resulted in God preparing me for both life and the ministry I now enjoy. You see, it was for “my benefit” that I suffered! It was my father’s love that kept me from destruction. Since that day there have been many times my Heavenly Father has broken me and convicted me of my sin. They are times of great pain and yet I have matured to know that through the pain comes great benefit and spiritual growth. I used to question the sincerity of my parents when I heard, “I am only doing this because I love you!” Then one day I became a father and suddenly I understood this truth.

QUESTION: Are you suffering today because of a sin in your life? Have you felt the discipline of God? If so, then remember today’s verse and rejoice that He loves you enough to lead you.