Being punished by God

Do you ever feel like you’re being punished by God? I had one of those experiences recently, and I’m so glad it didn’t last long. In those couple of days one thing I found interesting is that I had anger towards God. And that, my friends, is me admitting I’m not very spiritually mature. To think about it another way, try remembering when one of your parents grounded you. More times that not, we were instantly mad at our parents, right? Forget whatever we did wrong, that was totally beside the point! How dare mom or dad discipline us and RUIN OUR LIVES!!!!!!!
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“I turned my back on everything that was true.”

That’s the same way I acted when I felt like I was being punished by God. I was all like, “Wassup with that, God?” “Why me?” “Why don’t you care?” And God was all like, “Read the Bible!” “Isaiah 58.” “Chump!” OK, OK, not in those exact words but I opened up to Isaiah 58 and yowza, a scolding. A brief recap: God’s people were wondering why He didn’t seem to care about them (this happened quite a bit with them). They did this or that thinking it’s what God wanted. But He called them out on it, with beautiful clarity and insight. That’s the first half of the chapter, anyway. It goes on to offer what God desired from them, and for them. It’s sweet, actually, and very encouraging. After reading that chapter, I saw my attitude for what it really was: sour, unjustified, and immature.

“Left to myself I realize / I am the maker of my own demise.”

I was upset with God when I should’ve been upset with myself. What I blamed Him for was actually just a consequence of my own shortcoming. And while He may have allowed it to happen, feeling like punishment to me, it might have simply been Him using the consequences as discipline. Like if you’re a parent, maybe you did’t save your child from getting suspended when they got caught skipping school or whatever. Know what I mean? They reaped (rept? rooped?) what they had sown. It’s a chance for them to learn something, even if it’s the hard way.

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“Some people gotta learn the hardway.”

This experience was a low moment, but I hope I never forget it because man, God is so good. He hung with me through it and even had a blessing for me on the other side. Totally unfair. A blessing. I was all like, “Really?” and God was all like, “Really.”

Not in those exact words. 🙂

-Out of the Wilderness

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Can Wii Start Over?

Even new gaming systems, with their advanced graphics and global interactivity, still offer the one thing that everyone wants: a reset button. A chance to erase what just happened and do better.The first game system I had was the original Nintendo. My brother and I played Tecmo Bowl for hours and hours… then we’d go eat breakfast. There were other games but that one and Mario Brothers were our favorites. The Nintendo console only had 2 buttons: power and reset. The latter was used in 2 situations: when the game was frozen or when you were losing so bad and wanted to start over. The underlying idea here is that people love having another chance to do better and sometimes in real life, I find myself searching for the reset button. Like I’ve reached level 3 but continue making the same mistakes I made on level 1. Idiot! Now I’ve only got a little bit of strength left. I’ll never save the princess, so boop, hit reset and start again. Erasing the memory. Starting over. I wish it was that easy.

I’m about to get all spiritual now because the more I think about it, the more I believe Jesus can be the reset button. Look at the woman caught in adultery. Jesus basically hit the reset button for her. Same with guys that cheated in their jobs, people that had diseases or blindness, or even people that had it all together. Jesus offered them a chance to start over. And what’s just as cool as this, he also offers a way to regain strength when it’s low. It’s by having hope in him. He says we can soar on wings like eagles (kind of like Mario with the star that let you run through anything or jump really high, only cooler).

Isaiah 40:31 “…but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.”

Oh, another cool game was Excite Bike. Heck yes, I’d like to create my own race track! So when we feel like we just blew a big interview, a promising first date, or a chance to do whatever it is we wanted to do, just like an old Nintendo game, sometimes blowing it is exactly how to get things working again. We can learn from these mistakes. But the renewal, the second chance, the getting stronger part, that truly comes from Jesus. Then, like the skinny little boxer in Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out, we can keep going. Keep battling. Face our challenges, however big they are, and deliver the knockout punch.