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IN TOUCH WITH GOD    by Edward Heppenstall

Good Success NOVEMBER 17


For whom the lord loveth he chasteneth. Heb. 12:6.

The classic example of paternal chastisement or discipline by our heavenly Father is the experience of Job. Such discipline appears outwardly severe, but it is intended in love to work the fruits of righteousness and cause the character of a man to shine forth with greater luster. Such discipline is a mark of love, not rejection by God. Ours is a world of sin and suffering, but for God's children it provides the environment and the opportunity for the development of character with a view to eternal life.

God's discipline is tempered by love and mercy. He determines exactly the measure of our trials and tribulations. He permits nothing more than the perfecting of our characters. God sifts like wheat. He does not mar or destroy us. He does not go beyond the moral and spiritual correction we need.

Sin has brought disorder and suffering to the whole world. "By one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned" (Rom. 5:12). When this happened God did not execute upon us judgment to the uttermost. He could have registered His displeasure and opposition to sin by total destruction.

One of the great truths of redemption by the Son of God bears witness to the tempering mercy and long-suffering of God. The whole world rests in the shadow of Him who stands between us and eternal death, the wages of sin. Because of God's intervention in His Son for our salvation, we behold divine compassion moderating the agonies and penalties of sin. The artist Rubens pictured Golgotha, the place of a skull, where Christ was crucified, as though it were a garden; a viewer can scarcely see the skull for the flowers. This is symbolic of our sinful world. The sins and agonies of men are half-hidden by the flowers of God's love and mercy. God knows our end from the beginning. God uses His foreknowledge on our behalf. When we have passed through the trials, the redemptive guidance of God stands revealed.

As night brings out the stars, so times of adversity provide God with the opportunity to extend His grace and sustaining love that the image of God might be restored in us.

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