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pastor’s heart article from ggwo.


Taking a Lickin’
by Pastor Thomas Schaller
January 22, 2007

Recently, while flying to Peru, I reflected on this Proverb: "He who

spares his rod hates his son but he who loves him disciplines him
diligently" (Proverbs 13:24).

Would it be wrong for God to discipline us, if He tells us to do so with

our own children? The danger of any discipline is the possibility of a
seed of bitterness growing up in our hearts. I've met people who have
turned away from God because of how they feel about how they have
been treated. Hebrews 3 warns us "Take care, brethren, lest there
should be in any one of you an evil unbelieving heart in falling away
from the living God"(Hebrews 3:12).

Could we say that the believer's humility and walk of faith is tested
when we are dealt the rod? In Hebrews 12, we read, "All discipline for
the moment seems not to be joyful but sorrowful; yet to those who
have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceable fruit of
righteousness. Therefore, strengthen the hands that are weak and the
knees that are feeble and make straight paths for your feet so that the
limb which is lame may not be put out of joint, but rather be healed,"
(Hebrews 12:12-13).

We are living in an age and culture where it is not positive to talk

about "taking a lickin'" in life. Life should be positive, successful, and
happy. This reminds me of the 400 false prophets who told Ahab what
he wanted to hear. I'd rather search for the Elijah or the Paul who lives
a high quality life. Living high quality life teaches us that "beatings"
are a normal part of successful living. These are not physical beatings,
but rather "searchings of the heart."

We may feel confused, ashamed, or guilty. We may fail in the

presence of our brothers. We may be ridiculed, derided, mocked,
laughed at, teased, taunted, scorned, publicly embarrassed, or found
hopeless and helpless. We may be poor, abused, physically hurt and
have no permanent address (no certain dwelling place), but consider
Psalm 141:5: "Let the righteous smite me; it shall be a kindness and
let him reprove me; it shall be an excellent oil, which shall not break
my head."
pastor’s heart article from ggwo.org

Why wouldn't we learn to be admonished by the Scriptures, by the

Word, by the Message, by our brothers in Christ?

Wouldn't we rather take a lickin' and learn Christ in this world, so we

glorify our heavenly Father very much? We do our churches a
disservice if we do not lead our people into the deep waters of
suffering well. How can I help others to suffer well if I myself have not
found the preciousness of that in my own heart?

It is frightening when we as pastors and believers can no longer take

admonition, when we no longer continue in the face of opposition or
difficulty. Many of our brothers and sisters in persecuted countries
show us how to take a lickin'.

It would be ridiculous to think that the church isn't to have any fight in
it -- no contention, no correction, no rod, no Elijah, no David, or no
Paul. Ask any NFL player going to playoffs if beatings and lickin's are
not part of the path to success. If Einstein, Microsoft, the New York
Stock Exchange were always right and never corrected, confronted,
and readjusted, then would they in the real world mean anything?

Let the Lord shame us and drag us before the magistrates. Let the
Lord call us to the foolishness of preaching and the foolishness of the
Cross. If we can take a lickin', then the Holy Spirit will show us His
power and His healing.

Pulpits grounded in knowing Christ in the midst of deep trouble

manifest the power of God. God is on the side of the afflicted - God
gives an answer when we don't know how to answer. There is a great
mystery in all of this. May we always and continually love to see His
work and His hand when we are afflicted. "He hath torn and He will
heal us, He hath smitten and He will bind us up" (Hosea 6:2). A
trained ear can bear the testimony of these people who have learned
the secret of taking a lickin' from our Heavenly Father.

Yes, Lord, please lead us in this marvelous mystery of grace.

Pastor Schaller