“Son of man, with one blow I will take away your dearest treasure.
Yet you must not show any sorrow at her death.
Do not weep; let there be no tears.”
Ezekiel 24:16 NLT
This past week, I signed my two youngest sons (4 & 5) up for two weeks of martial arts classes to see if it would be a good fit for them. They were SO. PSYCHED. Sammo (4) even insisted on wearing “ninja cuffs” (big cloth bracelets that are part of a super-hero costume) so that he would be ready. In the first lesson, they got to do some punches, some kicks, and learn about the principles of the Art of Hand and Foot (Tae Kwon Do). One of the principles the instructor taught them was [self] discipline. I was pretty excited to see how she would break this principle down into something my boys would understand. What she said was so simple and clear that I was moved by it. She had them both stand perfectly silent and still, straight as rails with their hands at their sides, until she said “stop.” Then she said:
“THAT’S discipline: Doing WHAT you’re supposed to do WHEN you’re supposed to do it.”
She didn’t explain anything more about why her specific request was for them to stand up straight and refrain from talking. It was simply WHAT they were supposed to do WHEN they were supposed to do it.
That experience stuck with me as I read my Bible this week. The Bible is full of stories in which God calls someone to do something what & when. Here are just a few that came to my mind immediately:
- God: Go speak truth into the city of Nineveh. Jonah: Hmm… I think I’ll just RUN AWAY!!!!!!!
- God: Come. Peter: Got out of the boat, started walking, then took his eyes off Jesus and started to sink.
- God: Marry THIS specific woman and stay faithful to her even when she strays from you. Hosea: Silent obedience
- God: You are now pregnant. It’s my son. Mary: May everything you say come true.
- God: Your wife, your dearest treasure, is going to die suddenly and you will be unable to grieve her properly. Ezekiel: Silent obedience
The list goes on and on and on throughout the history of the world. It’s still happening today. Right this moment, God is calling me, calling you, calling us to do WHAT we’re supposed to do WHEN we’re supposed to do it. WHY? Because He’s good. Because He loves us. Because He said so.
Because he’s asking with ETERNITY in mind, not just the here and now.
No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it. (Hebrews 12:11 NIV)
Am I willing to do WHAT he’s asking me to do WHEN he’s asking me to do it, even if it’s not what I want to do when I want to do it? God promises a harvest of righteousness and peace through practicing the art of discipline. If I’m being completely honest, that’s what I’m ultimately seeking anyway; I’m just currently going about it MY way.
This week, I’m going to try GOD’s way.
Dear Lord, I’m so in awe of your ways. I believe that you call us to do strange and wonderful things every day. I know that Hosea, Ezekiel, Job, Mary and many more couldn’t follow your will without your help. I know you lifted them up and made them strong. Please bless us in the same way so that we can be trained with your discipline and testify to your awesomeness every day. Amen.