When my husband was a child, his mother sometimes scolded and disciplined him for disobeying her. During one such scolding he said to her imploringly, “You must be nice to your little boy!” His words touched her tender heart. But because she loved him, she continued his discipline and training. Years later as a missionary, Bill was grateful for her tough love, for it was the making of him.

God also disciplines and trains His erring sons and daughters. He may do so directly (1 Corinthians 11:29-32), or He may allow life’s hardships to melt us, mold us, and make us more like Jesus. In Hebrews 12:6, we’re assured that “whom the Lord loves He chastens.” Yet God’s chastening doesn’t feel very loving. Sometimes we even think it’s ruining us. But God’s discipline is the very thing that will save us from the ruin of our selfish, stubborn ways.

Although we’re unlikely to enjoy God’s discipline, we’re told that it trains us for right and holy living (vv.7-11). Rather than resisting God’s correction, we can yield to Him, confident that His goal is our spiritual growth. Whatever our circumstances, God knows the seriousness of our difficulties and is working powerfully behind the scenes for our good.

His tough love is the making of us.