Is God Punishing Me?

     I wonder if you have ever questioned if God was upset with you. Maybe you questioned why did your car break down now? Was God trying to get your attention? These are great questions. The answer to this question is a qualified yes. The Bible reminds us that our heavenly Father will and does correct His children out of love.

   Our recent study from 1 Kings 11 on God’s judgement of Solomon got me thinking about God’s intervention in our lives. The passage reveals several men that God allowed to agitate Solomon.  It seems as if these agitators served as Solomon’s “thorn in the flesh.” Now I do not have enough time to deal with this topic comprehensively, but let me offer a few insights from the Word.

     First, we need to be careful not to play God in the lives of others. It is easy for us to fall into the trap of judging others whose life seems to be a series of train wrecks. The simple truth is we do not know God’s motives. The Bible provides many examples of God using difficulties to work in a person’s life. The most well know example would be Job, but we could add the Apostle Paul to that list who endured shipwreck, beating, opposition and incarceration. The Apostles Peter reminds that us we will suffer evil for doing good. “For it is better to suffer for doing good, if that should be God’s will, than for doing evil.” (1 Peter 3:17)

     Second, because we are prone to wander away from God there are times that correction is needed. God does use people as well as circumstances to get out attention when needed. The Lord’s response to Paul’s request to remove the thorn in his flesh was, “But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” (2 Corinthians 12:9) We need to be slow to pass judgement on another. God’s chastisement is a very personal and private act. The individual themselves needs to seek out God’s purpose in their life.

     Third, we need to grasp that God’s correction is driven out of love for you. God desires nothing but your best. Sometimes, as the writer of Hebrews reminds us, he does need to use correction to get out attention and correct our behavior, but it is always driven by love. “It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons. For what son is there whom his father does not discipline?” (Hebrews 12:7)  I have noticed that God does allow natural consequences, like damaging your car by driving too fast for conditions. He also uses structured consequences like removing his blessing and protection in our lives. I believe that is the situation we looked at last Sunday in 1 Kings 11 in Solomon’s life.

     If you are sinking in a flood of difficulties in your life know that the Lord loves you and what you are going through is for a purpose. Would you trust Him to work in your life? If you have questions, I would be happy to talk.

-Pastor Joe Parkinson

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