The older I get, the more frequently my body aches. Just yesterday I felt a twinge in my knee as I got up from the couch. It hurt when I put weight on it, so I intentionally kept my foot straight, my hips in line, as I walked. I didn’t want to do damage by twisting it. And, after a bit, it stopped hurting.
Then I read Hebrews 12:12 this morning and had to smile at God’s timing. Because I had put the whole knee-thing out of my mind and am sure I would not have given it another thought had I not seen what was written there:
“…make straight paths for your feet so that what is lame may not be dislocated, but rather be healed.” (NKJV)
I am not kidding. Coincidence? I think not! I am blown away at how intimately interested God is in me, how personal, and how He longs to teach me every day.
So what is the lesson here? The writer of Hebrews is talking about God’s discipline of His children. I think the example in 12:12 says that when we sin, it can result in something like a twinge in the knee. God’s discipline could be in the form of guilt, or shame, or regret. But if I keep repeating the sin I cause damage. The discipline, then the consequences become more and more intense.
But if I intentionally walk straight, repent of the sin, if I resist repeating the sin, there is healing. There is forgiveness. And that’s what Jesus died to provide. That’s what God wants for us.
If you continue reading Hebrews 12 you’ll see that Esau is used as an example of this. Esau sinned for a bite of food. And in keeping with my analogy, he didn’t just get a twinge in his knee, he lost his leg. No amount of tears could bring that leg back.
Sometimes God’s discipline is a twinge. But if we choose to ignore it, we could lose the whole leg. Sometimes God’s discipline feels like guilt. But if we choose to ignore it, it could cost us so much more. And we might find ourselves living with devastating consequences of a sin that could have been stopped at the twinge.
Dearest God, I pray that we will recognize that twinge of guilt as Your discipline when we sin, or even think about sinning. Guilt doesn’t feel good. Yet so often we ignore it and continue in the sin. Thank you that you don’t amputate the first time we sin. We’d all be limbless! I pray that we will be sensitive to the way You work in our lives, that we will be quick to learn from Your discipline so that we won’t have to suffer further consequences for our bad choices. And, God, thank you for reminding me today how intimately interested you are in each one of us. I love you.