An Un-Canonized Psalm of Discipline and Mercy

The Lord disciplines us because he loves us just as we do our own children.

That concept in itself is easy for me to appreciate as a parent, but I struggle to understand the complexity of God’s discipline.

About a year after my husband’s affair, I became pregnant. We were feeling blessed to be in a place of joy again. First, my husband’s new job showed promise of advancement and now a new baby was on the way! 

Then, 12 weeks into the pregnancy we found out that I had miscarried. What was God doing? I struggled to understand if this was discipline because of my husband’s sin. The burden was especially great for him as he was once again reminded of King David.

After David’s affair with Bathsheba, God took his son as punishment for his sin. Nathan rebuked David and told him, 

“The LORD also has put away your sin; you shall not die.  Nevertheless, because by this deed you have utterly scorned the LORD, the child who is born to you shall die.”
(2 Samuel 12 : 13-14, ESV)

That sounds pretty clear. David sinned in adultery and in response to that sin God took the life of his child. I can feel my heart sink again as I type those words.

Hebrews 12: 5-6, 11 says, 

“My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor be weary when reproved by him. For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives.’ For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.” (ESV)

When my husband lost his job, it was evidently a consequence of his sin and therefore God’s discipline. I could also see God’s mercy. He needed to be out of this working environment, and I believe he needed to feel the weight of his sin. 

Looking back, I was fine with God disciplining my husband through the loss of my husband’s job. However, the thought of our child losing his or her life also as a result of sin was overwhelming. I cannot even imagine the pain that David experienced, hearing clearly that he would lose his son because of his foolishness.

The truth is that for a long time I could not go to the scriptures to reconcile this.
I feared the answer.

Here is what I do know. The wage for sin is death.  Blood was shed for David’s sin and blood was shed for my husband’s. 

I don’t believe that God required the blood of our baby because my husband’s sin was covered by the blood of Jesus long before he actually stumbled.  This righteous blood was a better sacrifice - from a pure high priest who is able to sympathize with our weaknesses, who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet was without sin.

He does not treat us as our sins deserve
or repay us according to our iniquities.
For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
so great is his love for those who fear him;
as far as the east is from the west,
so far has he removed our transgressions from us.
Psalm 103 : 10-12 (NIV)

Merciful Lord,

Let us with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in a time of need. Give our minds peace even in the things we cannot fully understand about you and your goodness.

Cause us to be thankful for the short moments of discipline, knowing that it is for our good that we might share in your holiness. Let us be thankful for the process of sanctification. Let our hearts know the love that you have for us as you take us through life’s pain and discipline.

Just as David confidently said about his son, “I shall go to him, but he will not return to me,” because of your mercy, I believe we will see our child in heaven. And you remind me that, just like our other children, this one was ours for a short time, but was and is always yours. I trust you with it all.

It is most magnificent to know that your justice is satisfied as you look on Jesus and pardon us.

Your Blessed in the Round,

Erin


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“Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved."


*Psalm 103 Scripture quotation is from THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.