God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in his holiness. (Heb. 12:10)

BEFORE PADDLING BECAME CRUEL and unusual punishment, I discovered that the closer you get to the one administering the paddling the less it hurts. I learned this physics lesson early in my life (not that I had to often use this knowledge). Pulling away and resisting the discipline only allowed the paddle to travel greater distance and gain more momentum. Greater distance plus more momentum equals greater pain. It’s the theory of relativity as I understand it.

I don’t know that “This is going to hurt me more than it will hurt you” is really true, but it does speak to the fact that true discipline is a relational event intended to bring correction, stimulate maturity, shape character, and enhance relationship. Discipline is necessary for healthy development.

There is gracious, spiritual purpose in the discipline of God. He administers discipline with love, not anger. He disciplines to build us up, not tear us down. He wants what is good for us. His goal is that we know the joy of sharing in His holiness.

The closer we get to Him, the less pain we feel in His discipline. The less we resist and pull away from Him, the more we feel His heart for us and His desire that we experience His loving embrace.

Pause to thank God for His discipline that has kept you from continuing in a direction that would have been damaging.

Ken Heer is the author of Ancient Fire (WPH) and has been a pastor and church leader for fifty-two years.