This week I’d like to share two stories with you.
One was told by Dan Allender who has co-written a couple of books with Larry Crabb. He shared this story at an open meeting:
Dan recalled when he was about six or seven years old he decided to make some quick money. His neighbour had beautiful flowers growing in his yard. So Dan decided to cut them and sell them to the people in his street. He went from house to house making a killing. He had one bunch of flowers left when he got to the last house. So overwhelmed by his financial success he did not realise that it was the same house that he had stolen the flowers from in the first place. He pressed the door bell. The owner came out and realised they were his flowers Dan was selling. He was furious and dragged Dan to his father. His father listened to his neighbour and assured him that his son would be seriously dealt with. Once the neighbour had left, Dan’s father looked at Dan and said. “Well done son, I`m proud of you.”
Was this grace or was it a lack of love?
When I was six or seven years old, my brother left me behind at the back of our farm after we had worked hard all afternoon. So I decided to get him back by pulling out the lettuce and spinach we were both growing in our little patch. As I was causing havoc, the shadow of my father fell upon the vegetable patch I was destroying. I knew I was in trouble! My father couldn’t stand any form of vandalism. He pulled out his belt and chased me around the house while my mother pleaded to leave me alone. From memory, he never did make contact but I was certainly afraid.
Who would have though that my father was treating me as a son?
Dan’s father was not.
“Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as sons. For what son is not disciplined by his father? If you are not disciplined (and everyone undergoes discipline), then you are illegitimate children and not true sons.” Heb 12:7-8
Suffering and sonship go together. That is the reason why we can endure suffering because it is not about being abandoned, it is about being loved. Only sons get disciplined. I thank my father for disciplining me and I have to learn to thank my Heavenly Father for disciplining me with hardships. We all know that is easier said than done, but that does not stop it from being true.