The pain of discipline…

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Psalm 39: 7 “And now, O Lord, what do I wait for? My hope is in you. 8 Deliver me from all my transgressions. Do not make me the scorn of the fool. 9 I am silent; I do not open my mouth, for it is you who have done it. 10 Remove your stroke from me; I am worn down by the blows of your hand. 11 “You chastise mortals in punishment for sin, consuming like a moth what is dear to them; surely everyone is a mere breath.”

Here is a psalm of lament. The writer acknowledges his sins and transgressions before the Lord asking for forgiveness and mercy. Because at the time he was suffering from “blows of (God’s) hand” (v.10). I can imagine a divine hand metaphorically administering corporal punishment on the backside of the psalmist. Something about that gets my attention.

There is something very intimate, very personal, very painful about spanking with the hand. The sting of impact is shared by both administer and recipient. I’d like to think it gives God no pleasure to bring discipline like this, but discipline is part of the job of a father. And so God does his job.

Heavenly Father, you don’t shrink from your responsibility when it’s hard and/or painful. This morning I pray to you as the psalmist. My hope is in you. Deliver me from all my transgressions – of which there are many. Amen.

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