November 23, 2011

"He chastens and hastens His will to make known"

“He chastens and hastens His will to make known.” –from the Netherlands folk hymn, We Gather Together

God “goes out of His way” to make His will known to us.

As much I as naturally resist the idea of correction, there are times when I need correction. God “chastens”, or corrects, me because I am not always on the right path and I am not always thinking correctly and I do not always respond to gentler methods of redirection.

Sometimes the actions or inactions of others are required to correct me. Sometimes natural and oddly unnatural events or circumstances stop me long enough to redirect my thinking. Sometimes, the events of life speak strongly to me. Illness, a car accident, a lost income, a forced retirement, a foreclosure, or a necessary but unwanted relocation may be the means of God speaking to me in a forceful way. These things happen to all people, including those who don’t need chastening. I must be careful about making hasty assumptions regarding why things happen to me or to others. Still, I must also remain open to every possible explanation of the events in my life.

What comforts me more than God’s chastening is that He “hastens His will to make known.” I think the writer of this hymn suggests that after God corrects us, God quickly restores us and welcomes us back into total fellowship with Him. As firmly as He chastens us, He hastens to restore us to Him. There is no delay, no “downtime”, in coming back to God. If there is a delay, it is my choice and not His.

God’s chastening comforts me in what might be called an “odd way.”

He loves me enough to insist I take the right road and follow Him fully. His chastening assures me He hasn’t forgotten me, hasn’t given up on me, and regards me as fully worthy of His attention. Even in my worst moments, God sees me as eternally valuable and needful of His care. As imperfect as I am and always will be, God loves me and pursues me for my good. God knows my deepest needs and never fails to respond to those needs.

“He chastens and hastens His will to make known.” For this, I am grateful. These words are truly words of thanksgiving.

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