Hebrews 12:5: “My dear child, don’t shrug off God’s discipline, but don’t be crushed by it either. It is the child he loves that he disciplines; the child he embraces, he also corrects.”

Do people change? If we performed a poll and pose this question to people around the world what would the outcome be? Probably there would be a general consensus that people do change, hopefully for the better, but that change is inevitable. A dead relationship is a relationship that never changes.

I call change “growing pains”. Take for instance the shifting relationships between generations: parents and children. –  Picture their relationship when the children are little. Now picture the children coming of age with increasing independence. Or picture them when both parents and children are well along in years and a role reversal happens. There are seasons to every relationship causing no minor frustrations as we are coping with the associated changes.

Does God change? We take comfort in the fact that He doesn’t. An unnamed person wrote in a letter to the Hebrews that Jesus is the same all throughout the ages (Hebrews 13:8):

“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.”

God may not change, but our perception of God will over the years, and with it our relationship with Him alters. If you have been experiencing just that, then congratulations! If anything, it advertises the longevity of your relationship with God, and that’s great! It’s like Farmer’s ad slogan says: “We know a thing or two because we’ve seen a thing or two.” If we’ve been through a thing or two with God, we experience His sweet touch, but we also might go through some major frustrations, similar to our frustrations in relationships with our human counterparts.

There is a good chance you feel punished at some point in your life. If that is the case, then it’s probably true: you are being punished. However, punishment quickly gets old if it produces the self-loathing, self-diminishing persona. The foul odor that comes with it is like a virus spreading over to other people who in turn beat themselves up. Not a good thing! People who smell this kind of condemnation from afar make a beeline into the opposite direction and shrug off any perceived punishment as inconsequential.

Nevertheless, God disciplines us because He wants us to grow. By being open-minded and accepting about it we will reap the most benefits. Understanding this process as education rather than condemnation, we will change into more mature people. And maturity is beautiful – I believe nobody wants to be stuck in eternal childhood.

Similar to the world of photography where shade brings out texture and adds more depth to an object, God’s discipline adds more dimension to our relationship with Him. We will find ourselves closer to Him than we were before. Remember: a dead relationship is a relationship that never changes.

Let’s embrace change with every waning Moon so we can celebrate the longevity of all our relationships – especially our relationship with God – with every Harvest Moon.

“Because I’m still in love with you I want to see you dance again. Because I’m still in love with you on this harvest moon.” Neil Young

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