God often uses pain and suffering in my life to correct me when I need it. Sometimes, it takes a painful experience to make us change our ways. Both the Old Testament and the New Testament teach us this truth.  Proverbs 29:15 says, “A rod of correction imparts wisdom, but a youth left to himself is a disgrace…” Hebrews 12:17 says, “Let God train you, for He is doing what any loving father does for his children. Whoever heard of a son who was never corrected?” A man came up to two boys fighting in the park. He took one aside and began to spank him for his inappropriate behavior. An observing bystander came up to the man and asked indignantly why he didn’t do anything to the other boy. The man responded that this one was his own son and the other was not. I know spanking is an unpopular form of discipline today, but I hate to think where I’d be personally if I didn’t face my father’s spankings. The same could be said of my sons. I want you to know that even though the mass media frown upon it, spanking is still legal in all 50 states as long as it does not leave scars. There are times when I feel God is spanking me. God’s “rod” and His “staff” comfort me. That he takes the time to deal personally with me is a demonstration of His love.

Alexander Maclaren wrote, “If we want to be taught anything, we shall not flinch from the rod. There must be pains undergone in order to win knowledge of any sort, and the man who rebels against these shows that he would rather be comfortable and ignorant than wise. A pupil who will not stand having his exercises corrected will not learn his faults. On the other hand, hating reproof is ‘brutish’ in the most literal sense, for it is characteristic of animals that they do not understand the purpose of pain and never advance because they do not. Men can grow because they can submit to discipline; beasts cannot improve because, except partially and in a few cases, they cannot accept correction.”

Because of our own selfish natures, we all need correction from time to time. It is absolutely essential for true spiritual growth as well as normal emotional development. Since this is the case with suffering, C. S. Lewis observed, “…We must anticipate that it will never cease till God sees the world to be either redeemed or no further redeemable.”  Someone said, “Loose wires give out no musical notes, but when their ends are fastened, the piano, the harp, or the violin is born. Free steam drives no machine but harnessed and confined with piston and turbine, it makes possible the great world of machinery. An unhampered river drives no dynamos, but dam it up, and you can generate sufficient power to light a great city. So our lives must be disciplined if we are to be of any real service in the world.”