Proverbs 20:30 Blows that wound cleanse away evil; strokes make clean the innermost parts. – ESV
What a statement from the wisest man who ever lived apart from Jesus. It is very counter cultural, and even counter intuitive for many of us. Our flesh cries out against the thought of discipline. That very fact should be an encouragement for us to consider embracing it. Often what is perceived as bad by the natural man, is good for us spiritually.
The flesh is an enemy. It does not have our eternal best interest at heart. So why do we listen so diligently to what it has to say? One obvious answer is the fact that we are physically trapped in our flesh. Day by day we are in close contact with an enemy who whispers lies and temptations to us. That is why we need to die daily.
The flesh only lasts as long as our life on earth. All it cares about is maintaining a comfortable existence for it’s duration. It has no care for the health or eternal destination of the spirit within it. Or even of the new flesh we will get at the resurrection. No, it is the epitome of folly, selfishness, sloth and shortsightedness.
Receiving The Stroke With Rejoicing
If we understand this, then we have come a long way in understanding why a stroke from heaven’s whip should be received with rejoicing rather than groaning and complaining. Granted, there are some levels of suffering—a stroke now and then so severe—that refraining from groaning is practically impossible. Job groaned. David did as well. But we are also told to count it all joy when we face trials in James 1:2.
So even when a stroke is so severe that groaning becomes necessary, we still understand in our innermost being that we are being purified. And our spirit rejoices even if we can’t demonstrate it externally.
Keeping Eternity In View
Paul says in 2 Corinthians 4:17 that our afflictions are light in this world and are preparing us for an eternal weight of glory. As hard as it is, sometimes we just need to pause and shift our perspective. What really is this little sliver of time we live in, in light of eternity? Can we ask God to allow us to become so consumed with eternity that this little span of time we live in is eclipsed and made to look like nothing but a few weeks of boot camp?
That’s not an entirely accurate analogy since there is a lot of joy and heavenly pleasure thrown in as well, but we get the point I hope. There is so much beyond this life we’re living. Eternal riches are being built or destroyed without our physical eyes seeing it. They also don’t see the innermost parts being made clean with each stroke of God’s whip.
Our spiritual eyes see it though, and rejoice! God’s discipline is mercy. It takes patience on His part to walk with us through every evil desire we have until it is utterly destroyed. He could justifiably not deal with any of it and send us all to an eternity of torment. Let’s thank God today for His faithfulness, patience, and, yes, for every stroke that makes clean the innermost parts!