Hebrews 12:5-11 “And have you forgotten the exhortation that addresses you as sons? ‘My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor be weary when reproved by him, For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives.’ It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons. For what son is there whom his father does not discipline? If you are left without discipline, in which all have participated, then you are illegitimate children and not sons. Besides this, we have had earthly fathers who disciplined us and we respected them. Shall we not much more be subject to the Father of spirits and live? For they disciplined us for a short time as it seemed best to them, but he disciplines us for our good, that we may share his holiness. For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.
I’m learning a valuable lesson from my dog this week. Monday while out on our morning stroll he was viciously attacked by a couple of larger dogs. I screamed in horror as he was mauled, praying that the pack would stop and he could get away. Thankfully God answered my prayers and my boy is going to be o.k.. His physical wounds are surface, only one deep enough to require staples. No internal injuries are present. But the healing is going to take a while and is accompanied by a not-so-sporty plastic cone.
The last two nights have been difficult. He stands there, tail straight down, giving his pitiful hang-dog look. Your heart just about breaks for him. He won’t move and it takes an act of Congress to get him to lay down. Once he is down it takes another act of Congress the next day to get him up and moving again. I have really been concerned for him so imagine my surprise when I got home from a trip to the grocery store, when out comes my Duncan dog on a leash, sans cone, tail wagging, ears perked up, and a bounce in his step. I thought, “Wow! Those pain meds must really be working!”
Eventually we made it back in the house and he kept trying to get to his wounds so on the cone went. You would’ve thought someone stole his treat right out of his mouth, locked him up, and threw away the key. His tail went straight down. Ears drooped. The hang-dog look was back. He stood in place and it took another act of Congress to get him to move. That’s when it hit me. The cone is more of a problem than I thought. This dog is doing much better than we realized. His pouting over the cone around his neck has skewed our perspective on his progress. He will be a much happier dog once he gets used to it and learns to maneuver life with a small satellite dish around his neck.
That’s a lot like us. Sometimes God puts a cone on us, or subjects us to some sort of discipline. Duncan needs the discipline of the cone to aid the healing process. There are times when we also need God’s discipline. Out of our love for Duncan, we put the cone on because we know it’s for his own good. God disciplines us for our own good out of his love for us.
Duncan can walk just fine, but he chooses to be paralyzed by the unfamiliarity of the cone. It will take time and risk to get used to it. He will have to bump into a few things before he learns how to get around bump free. Aren’t we like that sometimes? The new and unfamiliar hits and we stand paralyzed. We stop moving forward and we can’t move back so we just stand there, frozen. If we listen to the Father’s voice, accept the cone of discipline, and take that first tentative step forward, each successive step will get easier. Once we learn of the cone’s limitations we can zip around with confidence avoiding those unpleasant bumps.