“When I was a child I often had a toothache,” wrote C. S. Lewis in his classic book Mere Christianity. He continued, “and I knew that if I went to my mother she would give me something that would deaden the pain for that night and let me get to sleep. But I did not go to my mother—at least not till the pain became very bad. . . . I knew she would take me to the dentist the next morning. . . .  I wanted immediate relief from pain, but I could not get it without having my teeth set permanently right.”

Similarly, we might not always want to go to God right away when we have a problem or are struggling in a certain area. We know that He could provide immediate relief from our pain, but He is more concerned with dealing with the root of the problem. We may be afraid that He will reveal issues that we are unprepared or unwilling to deal with.

In times like these, it is helpful to remind ourselves that the Lord “deals with [us] as with sons” (Heb. 12:7). His discipline, though perhaps painful, is wise, and His touch is loving. He loves us too much to let us remain as we are; He wants to conform us to the likeness of His Son, Jesus (Rom. 8:29). God’s purposes of love can be trusted more than any of our emotions of fear.