I like these thoughts from the Message Bible very much, My dear child, don't shrug off God's discipline, but don't be crushed by it either. “It’s the child he loves that he disciplines;
the child he embraces, he also corrects.
God is educating you; that's why you must never drop out. He's treating you as dear children. This trouble you're in isn't punishment; it's training, the normal experience of children. Only irresponsible parents leave children to fend for themselves. Would you prefer an irresponsible God? We respect our own parents for training and not spoiling us, so why not embrace God's training so we can truly live? While we were children, our parents did what seemed best to them. But God is doing what is best for us, training us to live God's holy best. At the time, discipline isn't much fun. It always feels like it's going against the grain. Later, of course, it pays off handsomely, for it's the well-trained who find themselves mature in their relationship with God. So don't sit around on your hands! No more dragging your feet! Clear the path for long-distance runners so no one will trip and fall, so no one will step in a hole and sprain an ankle. Help each other out. And run for it!”
A time of testing comes in the sovereign ordering of God for all such, and it is found by reason of its present root-dryness, lack of vitality, of energy, of up-to-dateness of life that it cannot go through the testing, it is rooted out. A simple word that, and yet a challenging word which shows us two things: that God, in His sovereignty, does most definitely appoint a time in which He will test the state of everything and everyone which makes a claim to be related to Him. He will do that, and then no amount of past history, good history, Divine history, will stand that thing in stead for the day of His testing. Or to put it another way, God tests to find out just exactly how up-to-date spiritual life and spiritual experience is.
There are quite a lot of people who have had a very sound, thoroughly genuine conversion, but who live back on their conversion of ten, twenty, or forty years ago; and while it is true the history was quite sound, it is something of the past. Its vitality has not been continuous, it is not up-to-date, and such people will find that when the winds of God begin to blow they are lacking, they are wanting, and they will be carried away, not necessarily to be eternally lost, any more than Israel is, but to very great loss.
And then the Lord also tests most definitely, every kind of profession, every kind of response, every kind of attitude or relationship, to discover whether that is a thing which is on the surface, on the face, superficial; or whether it is a thing which has gone right down deeply into the life, burying its roots in the very sub-soil of experience. Here, again, a simple word, but it may be that there is someone here who is attaching themselves to something, attaching themselves to a place, to a company of people; attaching themselves in an outward way to that which represents the Lord, in hymns and addresses and prayers and services and such like; associating themselves, and, in a way, making some kind of answer or response to the things of the Lord.
Have you seen a self-grown forest in a mountain district after a gale? We have a good deal of that sort of thing in Scotland where the seeds have been carried by the wind and have sown themselves in the very thin soil of a mountain slope, a rocky district. They have grown very tall, lanky thin trees, firs or pines; their roots have spread out and covered a great area, and then – a gale – and as you go along after a gale there are those lanky, thin, gaunt trees lying with their roots right up in the air. You wonder how in all the earth they have managed to cling to the shallow soil. There they are everywhere, rooted up because self-grown, and that is Matthew 13 (But when the sun had risen, they were scorched; and because they had no root, they withered away). Something which has made its own kind of response, given its own response, answer, with reservations perhaps, not going too far, not going to be “extreme,” not going to be “singular,” not going to be “fanatical,” just going to be “perfectly balanced” and “sane” and make their own response to the Lord.
All right, God has appointed the hour for a gale. Yes, there will be a blazing sun, it will be discovered whether God did that planting, whether that was a work of God in the heart or whether it was just something of human attachment or association. It may just be that here there may be one or more attaching themselves from the outside to that which is of the Lord, but they are not right in, buried, rooted, grounded, not in the thing in the Lord. Are you attaching yourself to something religious, or are your buried with your roots in Christ? Rooted in Him?
In light of (for a lack of better words) this “grace awakening, I trust that as the Father allows His winds to blow upon your life, as he permits the scorching heat of the sun and the troubles he does not with hold from touching us, be that will bring ever greater sobriety to a ever growing and increased knowing of your union with the One who is the resurrection and your Life!
May He grant you out of the rich treasury of His glory to be strengthened and reinforced with mighty power in the inner man by the [Holy] Spirit [Himself indwelling your innermost being and personality]May Christ through your faith [actually] dwell (settle down, abide, make His permanent home) in your hearts! May you be rooted deep in love and founded securely on love, That you may have the power and be strong to apprehend and grasp with all the saints [God's devoted people, the experience of that love] what is the breadth and length and height and depth [of it];
As you have therefore received Christ, [even] Jesus the Lord, [so] walk (regulate your lives and conduct yourselves) in union with and conformity to Him. Have the roots [of your being] firmly and deeply planted [in Him, fixed and founded in Him], being continually built up in Him, becoming increasingly more confirmed and established in the faith, just as you were taught, and abounding and overflowing in it with thanksgiving. See to it that no one carries you off as spoil or makes you yourselves captive by his so-called philosophy and intellectualism and vain deceit (idle fancies and plain nonsense), following human tradition (men's ideas of the material rather than the spiritual world), just crude notions following the rudimentary and elemental teachings of the universe and disregarding [the teachings of] Christ (the Messiah).