"How can I give you up …?" (Hosea 11:8)
Ever felt like giving up on something? Perhaps you tried and tried to get it right or to get it to work, and it just wouldn’t; so you ended up walking away. Or have you ever felt like giving up on someone? Perhaps you worked at some issue with them, giving it your best efforts, but nothing seemed to change; and so you ended up throwing in the towel in despair. Probably all of us have faced times like these.
It’s therefore hard for us to understand that God never feels like this about anything – including us! When God starts something, He finishes it. The Bible promises us that "He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus" (Philippians 1:6). But the reason for this confidence has nothing to do with us; it is all about God, from start to finish. God Himself has made a covenant – a binding, unbreakable contract - with us through the death of his Son, Jesus Christ. It is because of this covenant that God remains faithful to us, even when we are unfaithful to Him. As Paul put it, "If we are faithless, he will remain faithful, for he cannot disown himself" (2 Timothy 2:13).
Such grace and faithfulness doesn’t mean God is "soft" however! He is not some weak father who "lets his children get away with anything" – He loves us far too much for that! That is why, in His grace, He promises to bring tender, fatherly discipline into our lives when it is needed. Such discipline proves that we are truly loved – loved, not hated!
Perhaps you have been experiencing the discipline of God. Don’t see this as His lack of love for you, but the proof that He truly loves you and wants the best for you. He has promised He will not give you up. So receive His discipline and respond to it; He still has wonderful purposes for you!
My son, do not despise the Lord's discipline and do not resent his rebuke, because the Lord disciplines those he loves, as a father the son he delights in. (Proverbs 3:11-12)
Copyright © 2017 Martin Manser and Mike Beaumont