Tonight the Lord reminded me of something that I did 20+ years ago, when I was a new believer, at an exciting and challenging time in my life (newly married). For those of you who have not passed through the newly married state, let me expand things a little. First of all, it was a big surprise. I didn’t live with my wife before we were married and I had not lived with a woman previous to that time. So, all of a sudden, my world was alive with possibilities and wonder. I had read everything that the bible had to say about being married, and had worked it all into my vows. And I remember at the end of writing my vows, I realized that I was completely inadequate to do all of the wonderful things that a man is called to do for his wife. I needed HELP! I recognized my need, and continued dependence.
At the same time, it was wonderful beyond describing. A new person, unique, different, had joined herself to me, and I was captivated. I was also concerned that I divide my desire to please her and my desire to please the Lord. But I knew the risk that my desire to please her could REPLACE my desire to please the Lord. I didn’t want that.
I should also say that, at that point in my life, I was pretty religious. The “more is better” kind of religious. I was also simple. If I didn’t know what something meant, especially in scripture, I would take it literally, praying also for a deeper understanding.
So, I went to the Lord and asked for a way to grow in my love for Him. It was then that I ran across Prov 9:8 in my reading.
“Do not reprove a scoffer, or he will hate you, Reprove a wise man and he will love you.”(NASB)
Bingo! There was a way. I could ask the Lord to give me wisdom and give me reproof.
He answered that prayer.
I prayed that daily for about a year. And He faithfully gave me wisdom, and gave me reproof daily for a year.
That was a painful time.
I felt ashamed when I stopped. I hoped that He wouldn’t say “Dude! Why did you stop asking for reproof?”
He didn’t say anything. In some ways, that was worse.
Tonight, He said something. It was very affirming. He showed me that I still flinch, at His rebuke, and still fear Him, and fear screwing up without knowing it. But, in that year I learned something about Him. He was committed to giving me wisdom with His rebukes. He wanted me to love Him more. So, His rebukes were hard, but good, because He is good, and He is love. That understanding is a precious gift.