Wandering and Wondering
Your son or daughter disobeys you after clear instructions have been given. In fact, it’s happened more than once, and you decide that a firmer measure of discipline is in order. You set your course, follow through, and your child’s crying indicates the message was received—LOUD and clear! But now what? The younger a child is, the more pronounced the next step needs to be: the restoration of fellowship. It’s natural for a child to assume that, having incurred the displeasure of a parent, displeasure will be the continuing state. And it is up to the parent to prove otherwise.
Pleasure should be the continual relationship between parent and child, quickly resumed when displeasure interrupts. The parent who seeks out a wounded child after discipline is complete says, “The discipline is over, you have paid the price for your choice. Now—let’s pick up where we left off. Let’s continue our relationship of love.” The child who learns this pattern from a parent is being well-prepared to ease seamlessly into a relationship with God for whom justice, measured by grace and compassion, is the norm.
Isaiah spoke to Israel in God’s behalf and told her that the Lord longs to be gracious and compassionate to her. Even when Israel was disciplined by God, he still sought her out to reestablish fellowship and communion: “Comfort, comfort my people . . . Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and proclaim to her that her hard service has been completed, that her sin has been paid for” (Isaiah 40:1-2). Like a father seeking out a fearful child—a child who doesn't know if he or she will be accepted after sinning—God seeks to comfort his people. God proves himself over and over in Scripture that he is a God of justice, grace, and compassion. He wounds and he comforts. He chastises and then chooses. He disciplines and then restores. It is the nature of God to seek, seek, and seek again.
“We all, like sheep, have gone astray” (Isaiah 53:6), but he cannot deny his shepherd’s heart. Don’t let wandering result in wondering. Be assured that He seeks you still.
God’s Promise to You: “Nothing you do will keep me from seeking and finding you.”