Complimentary not contradictory
The LORD is for me… (Psalms 118:7 NKJV)
The LORD has chastened me severely… (Psalms 118:18 NKJV)
Take note of the two realities represented in Psalm 118. In verse seven, the Psalmist proclaims that the Lord is for him; he was absolutely convinced he was favored and loved by Him. Yet, in verse eighteen he declares that the same Lord who was for him had also severely chastened him. Don't those two statements contradict each other?
Without a doubt, there's something inside of us that instinctively thinks so. We understand favor, we understand pain…but we have a hard time believing that one could have any part with the other. They seem inherently contradictory.
It's a dilemma reflected in our childhood when a loving parent stepped in to discipline us, saying, "This is going to hurt me more than it's going to hurt you." It sure didn't feel like it! But time has a way of revealing that love and discipline can co-exist and actually complement each other. It's only because we were loved that we were chastened, because a love that isn't willing to discipline is a shallow love at best.
We're on the same learning curve when it comes to our Heavenly Father's involvement in our lives. Our Bible tells us that He is for us, and we trust this to a certain extent. But then we experience His chastening hand in our lives, and it's hard for us to reconcile the two. "If God loves me so much then why is He…"
As your Father, it's because He is for you that He is chastening you. When viewed within the context of a loving parental relationship, His being for you and His chastening you don't contradict but complement each other, and both are bound to be present in our lives just as they're both present in this Psalm.
Heavenly Father, open our eyes to see that Your love leads You to discipline us when we need it, and open our hearts to receive this truth.
Think about it…
What does this passage reveal to me about God?
What does this passage reveal to me about myself?
Based on this, what changes do I need to make?
What is my prayer for today?