When walking, I either listen to music or podcasts of past messages from my Pastor, Rick Sherer. About a month ago (if even that long), I was listening to one of Pastor Rick's messages, "Prayer God Always Answers". Towards the end of the recording, Pastor Rick made a statement and pointed out that if a child of God wants to see change in their life, they should ask God to reveal the things in them that are not like Him. Pastor Rick also "cautioned" that if a person asks God, they should make sure they really want to know because God would answer.
In my efforts to be more Christlike, I did as instructed. I asked God to 'reveal the things in me that I need to change so that I can become more like You, Father'. And then I kept walking…
Fast forward about a week (if even that long)...
During our Sunday services and Wednesday night Covenant Circles at Berith Christian Fellowship, Pastor Rick kept mentioning the words "rebuke", "reproof", "chastening" and "correction" while he taught. Although Pastor Rick would refer to them in different contexts, the words kept coming up.
In fact, Pastor Rick mentioned these words so often that in one of my Sunday outlines I wrote a note to myself that said 'reproof and chastise = WHOAment', which I thought signified that a blog entry would be coming soon about one of those words.
Shortly after that Sunday, I penned an entry about parenting, though the words for the blog entry never seemed to fully flow as normal nor was I given the words to complete the writing. Truthfully, that half-finished entry is still scribbled in my notebook, perhaps for another posting.
Yet, the words "rebuke", "reproof", "chasten" and "correction" continued to resonate within my sub-consciousness.
As I went about my everyday routines, there seemed to be a sudden shift in how my husband and I interacted, or at least that is the way that I perceived it at the time.
From my standpoint, my husband, who is normally very attentive, loving and always doting on me, was behaving abnormally. It seemed as though the conversations between us, which are usually easy-flowing and laced with love, ended up with him pointing out something negative about me. It seemed as though every single time we were having a serious conversation, he seemed to "conveniently" turn it into critiques about things I wasn’t doing correctly or made suggestions about the things that I could improve.
I began to grow frustrated with my husband's "criticisms" and as a result, whenever he would try to hold a lengthy conversation with me, I would either shut it down or kept my answers to a minimum. What was the point in engaging in lengthy conversations with him when he was being so negative? This past Saturday night before we went to sleep, my husband reached over and kissed me and told me that he loves me. I responded with a return kiss and told him that I love him. He went a step further and brought God into the equation and told me that God loves me too. I told him that I knew. (At this point, I thought he was trying to be sarcastic and I was not in the mood). When he prodded more and asked how I know God loves me, with an attitude, I said, “because I know”. My husband didn’t ask anything else and we cuddled up and went to sleep. On the way to church the next morning, my husband continued his questioning and admonished me to search the Scriptures for myself to answer the question that he asked the night before and I agreed that I would.
"How do you know God loves you?"
That morning, during his message, Pastor Rick brought up the words “correction” and “reproof” again. To put the cherry on top, at the end of the service, he also told the congregation that God loves us. (Go figure).
This week, I was sitting down reading my Bible and I happened to look up and glanced at our movie collection. Out of all the movies there, Spike Lee’s "Love and Basketball" caught my eye. Although the movie is a love story, it also contains other underlying themes. Monica (played by Sanaa Lathan) is very passionate about basketball. In high school, she is the team’s captain and a very good player. She is one of the best female players in the city. Once she is recruited to play basketball for a popular university, the dynamics change. Although she has a lot of potential, she is no longer the star. This means that she has to play harder and earn her place within the team. Although Monica feels that she is doing everything right, her coach, Coach Davis (played by Christine Dunford) always seems to point out her faults. At one point in the movie, because Coach Davis is so hard on her, Monica feels the coach doesn't recognize her abilities. As I thought about the movie, a particular scene played in my head. The scene stuck out so much that, without thinking, I grabbed the DVD to watch the scene: Here it is:
Coach Davis: [In her office after a game] We've got our final games against Oregon and Oregon State, and I'm shaking things up a bit, so... I'm starting you at point again.
Monica: But, uh... I thought Sidra's ankle was OK for next game. Coach Davis: [impatiently] You want the job, or not? Monica: Yeah. [Keeps staring at Coach Davis]
Coach Davis: What? Monica: It just... it just seems like you're always riding me. Coach Davis: [pauses, then speaks] You think I'd go hoarse for a player with no potential? When I ignore you... then you worry.
Although the dialogue between Coach Davis and Monica is very brief, its message is colossal and got me to thinking: Coach Davis saw the potential in Monica and as a result, she stayed on her. Consistently.
After watching this scene, still reflecting on its message, I got up to get a glass of water.
Before I even reached the refrigerator, it hit me like a ton of bricks and enter the WHOAment:
“ For whom the Lord loves He chastens, And scourges every son whom He receives.” Hebrews 12:6 (NKJV)
“ As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Therefore be zealous and repent.”
It was just at that WHOAment that I realized that God had answered the prayer that I prayed a few weeks back!! (Duh) I asked Him to reveal the things within me that I needed to change and He did. Every single event over the past month (if even that long) was God trying to show me, over and over again!
When I still didn't pick up what He was putting down, He sent my covenant partner, my husband, to show me! All the times that I felt that my husband was being too hard on me by only pointing out the negative things that I was doing was by God’s design! I had faith enough to ask God to show me what needs to be purged from my life and He was faithful and answered me! God chastened me because He loves me.
God chastens whom He Loves!
I want you to know that as soon as I got this revelation, I repented to God and to my husband for my sin of offense. To God be the Glory! With tears streaming down my face because I finally "got it", I filled my husband in on the sequences of events.
After I finished speaking, my husband thanked me for letting him in on what I was going through. He admitted that although he was grateful that God chose to use him to minister to me, he really couldn't recall telling me anything extreme that I needed to change or correct. When I reminded him of the things (and, yes, because they were still ringing in my head I was able to list them all), he agreed that although they are, in fact, areas that could be improved or changed, they weren’t significant to him. (After all, he wasn’t the one that said the prayer, right? So of course they wouldn’t matter much to him, other than the fact that he, in turn, will benefit from me heeding the Word because I will be a better Christian, wife and mother). The main thing that my husband remembered about the two week period was that Tiffany the Tyrant stopped by our house. Please let this WHOAment be a testament to you that 1) God answers prayers, 2) don’t “shoot the messenger” and 3) God chastens who He loves. I recognize the fact that since God has shown me the areas in my life that I need to change or step up, the next immediate step is to be a doer of the Word. It’s time to put it all into action! By faith, with Christ, I am well on my way!
"But be doers of the Word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves."
James 1:22 (NKJV)
(Please note: Being in offense will cause you to call a friend an enemy. Taking offense is also a sin. Don't walk around holding grudges or walking in offense. It is harmful for your health. PLEASE DO NOT TRY THIS AT HOME!)
Selah! ~ TC