Heading into Jerusalem for that fateful Passover week, Jesus grieved over the Holy City, “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones God’s messengers! How often I have wanted to gather your children together as a hen protects her chicks beneath her wings, but you wouldn’t let me.” (Matthew 23:37 NLT)
Jesus’ heart was full as He surveyed the people that would hail his entry and in a few days, demand His departure via the cross. How well He speaks to parents with children that have wounded them. I know such a parent, a single mom undergoing serious trials with a rebellious teen-age son. She has not walked with God for many years but having been laid off twice in the past 18 months and dealing with her son’s escalating drug problems have brought her back to a journey of faith.
In these ordeals, she has found solace in prayer and speaks of asking God to use her in these troubling situations. Yet as her faith has grown, her son’s academic, legal and medical woes have also increased. With mounting troubles, her doubts and questions have developed in recent days: how can she see that the God she seeks is bigger than the hurricane force storm she finds herself in?
To a church facing the storms of persecution, Paul wrote in Hebrews 12: 5-11, “…do not make light of the Lord’s discipline, and do not lose heart when he rebukes you, because the Lord disciplines those He loves, and He punishes everyone he accepts as a son. Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as sons. For what son is not disciplined by his father? If you are not disciplined (and everyone undergoes discipline), then you are illegitimate children and not true sons. Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of our spirits and live! Our fathers disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in His holiness. No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.”
Despite the forces aligned against Him, Christ wept over Jerusalem’s rebellion. Paul sought to encourage and strengthen those persecuted for the name of Jesus. For this mother, my prayers are that God’s words will comfort and strengthen her in the present and that the consequences her son faces will ultimately benefit him. For all of us, these promises of peace and righteousness can become a foundation of truth and faith for all our families. Knowing that “God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in His holiness” can give us much needed hope as we look forward to the His “harvest of righteousness and peace”.