Essays on Faith: Are we being disciplined?

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TIME OUT!

Most parents know the drill. After their child has driven them to the edge with their misbehavior, IT’S TIME OUT! Go sit in that corner and think about the heartache you have put me through with your defiant disobedience.

Does that seem to resemble the current situation that our nation, the world, actually, is in when we think of what the relationship with our Creator/Father God should be?

When we, as loving, caring parents discipline our children, it is because we know, from experience, that unabated, bad behavior can lead to a self-destructive, adolescent lifestyle. And we are mimicking the attitude of our loving, caring Creator/Father for His creation. God demonstrated His love for us in clothing Himself in human flesh and living among us as Yeshua Ha’ Mashiach, Jesus the Messiah, and absorbing our sins, our wicked immoral behavior in His own body, dying on the cross that we might have forgiveness and eternal life with Him.

Our Creator/Father made us in His own image to reflect His love, mercy, goodness and purity. “He looks down from heaven and observes the sons of men, considering all their works” (Psalm 33:13-15).

Why, then, we may ask, if God loves us so much, does He allow such a horrifying plague to sweep over the world, such as the coronavirus, killing and making deadly ill thousands, even millions of His created beings?

We won’t even go there — our Creator/Father God is sovereign over the universe and its inhabitants because He created them (the Bible likens Him to a potter) and much like a potter, fashions any vessel he chooses and has the power to do whatever He pleases with His finished product. This is clearly laid out in the book of Romans 9:20-24.

There are many examples in the Bible, primarily in the Old Testament, of how God deals with nations and individuals based upon their attitude and behavior toward God, their Creator. Most notable among all these examples is the nation of Israel. God deliberately, intentionally, chose Abraham, and through him, the nation of Israel who would become the channel through whom He would send His Son, Messiah Jesus, to redeem mankind from its sin so they could stand in the presence of the holy, pure, sinless Lord God Almighty.

God declared His everlasting love for Israel over and over (Deuteronomy 7:6-8) but also warned them repeatedly that if they disobeyed His commandments to not worship false gods and adopt their immorality, He would discipline/judge them and He did so, many times.

So, while we are in our “corner” (with government orders to stay home, we don’t have much choice, do we?) let’s examine our attitude. Is God punishing us? Is God even in the picture? Is this just one of the many misfortunes of life which was likely caused by somebody’s stupid mistake? Is there a possibility that God is disciplining us to bring us back to righteous living and acknowledging that God is really who He says He is and deserves our love and obedience?

The dictionary tells us that “discipline is training that is expected to produce a specific character or behavior, especially training that produces moral or mental improvement.” That discipline may appear as punishment, certainly to that child receiving it. Actually, the dictionary further defines discipline as “punishment in order to train and enforce obedience.”

Our Creator/Father God did not bring mankind into the world, provide the elements and means to sustain themselves and then back off with the attitude, “There you have it, I’ve given you what you need, make the most of it, and I hope it works out for you”.

That viewpoint is not valid when we consider the incomprehensible complexity and function of the universe and our own human bodies. All of this is not the work of an absentee creator. All of creation practically screams deliberate, intentional purpose requiring a caring, sustaining power or force that will culminate in a new world, a beautiful, fruitful earth filled with a redeemed mankind from their sinful condition into the pure, spotless children that our Creator/Father God intended them to be.

Harold Pritt is a retired bi-vocational minister residing in Teays Valley.

Essays on Faith may be submitted to gazette@wvgazettemail.com.

Find more Essays on Faith at www.wvgazettemail.com/life/religion.

Funerals for Thursday, July 2, 2020

Adkins, Anne - 6 p.m., Roush Funeral Home, Ravenswood.

Morton, Freda - 11 a.m., Hafer Funeral Home, Elkview.

Nunn, Terry - 7 p.m., Good Shepherd Mortuary, South Charleston.

Olive, Rex - 2 p.m., Hafer Funeral Home, Elkview.

Reynolds, George - 2 p.m., Dodd & Reed Funeral Home, Webster Springs.

Rhodes, Ella - 4 p.m., Waybright Funeral Home, Ripley.

Rose, Carol - 10 a.m., Cunningham Memorial Park, St. Albans.

Waldron, Helen - 1 p.m., Forks of Coal Cemetery, Alum Creek.

Wibberg, David - 11 a.m., St. Anthony Catholic Church, Charleston.