Posted in theology

Little Chastenings

By Elizabeth Prata

I had been going through some things I had deemed little. People around me are going through great trials, loss of parent, illness of child, uncertainty about immediate future put at risk … whereas the things that have tried me lately have been such things as car breakdown leaving me by the side of the road which happens often, spending hours and days with customer service in getting my upgraded phone, my rapid hair loss and concern it was a terrible disease. I often think, ‘well those aren’t really BIG issues, I must be a terrible person for caving in to them’. I sought the Lord through them when they occurred but I deemed these daily life aggravations, not trials and not chastenings. Was I missing out? I wondered if or when the Lord would chastise me as Hebrews 12:11 says. or if I was even growing. But today’s devotional helped me. It may encourage you as well:

God’s Love in Little Chastenings
Frances Ridley Havergal

Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous… (HEBREWS 12:11 KJV)
(For the moment, all discipline seems not to be pleasant, but painful; NASB)

There are some promises that we are apt to reserve for great occasions, and thus lose the continual comfort of them. Perhaps we read this one with a sigh and say, "How beautiful this is for those whom the Lord is really chastening! I almost think I should not mind that if such a promise might then be mine. But the things that try me are only little things that turn up every day to trouble and depress me." Well, now, does the Lord specify what degree of trouble, or what kind of trouble, is great enough to make up a claim to the promise? And if He does not, why should you? He only defines it as "not joyous, but grievous."
Perhaps there have been a dozen different things today that were not joyous, but grievous to you. And though you feel ashamed of feeling them so much, and hardly like to admit their having been so trying, and would not think of dignifying them as chastening, yet, if they come under the Lord’s definition, He not only knows all about them, but they were, every one of them, chastenings from His hand—neither to be despised and called “just nothing” when all the while they did grieve you, nor to be wearied of, because they are working out blessing to you and glory to Him. Every one of them has been an unrecognized token of His love and interest in you, for “whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth.”
What shall Thine afterward be, O Lord?
I wonder, and wait to see
While to Thy chastening now I bow
What peaceable fruit may be ripening now,
Ripening fast for Thee!

by FRANCES RIDLEY HAVERGAL, Seasons of the Heart: A Year of Devotions from One Generation of Women to Another


Christian writer and Georgia teacher's aide who loves Jesus, a quiet life, art, beauty, and children.

One thought on “Little Chastenings

  1. Good morning dear sister….

    I would have commented in your comment section of your blog, but almost every time I try, it fails in some way for some reason. I’m sure it is the user so I thought I would answer this way this morning.

    When I see the word chastising, I, for so many years, like so many, think of punishment of some kind and like Job’s friends, many Christians use it like a well brandished axe to those who are suffering.

    For years, and still today the suggestion that the Lord is chastising me OR I’m not a “good enough” Christian (maybe not actually said out loud but certainly implied) because of the continued suffering of more than one autoimmune disease (since 1965) from less than compassionate medical professionals, Christians and laymen alike.

    When I was a newbie in the Lord…I took on that guilt. Several “mentors” (??) would point out every flaw, every sin, every crack in my earthen vessel and I would sulk home and beg God to forgive me and help me…never to be healed of the first autoimmune disease, only to be blessed with 4 more over the next 40 years. It is difficult to articulate the mental and emotional suffering those “well meaning” (I call them “mean meaning”) ladies (and others like them) caused me for the first 10-15 years of my journey with the Lord.

    You know them dear sister…the ones who suggest;

    You don’t have enough faith.

    You aren’t spending enough time in prayer or in quiet time or in the word.

    You aren’t tithing.

    You’re not a submissive enough wife.

    You must not be confessing all of your sins.

    You haven’t been “anointed” (speaking in tongues).

    You’re not serving enough in the church.

    Your house is not clean enough. (This is really what one said, while I was barely able to move from Fibromyalgia and had two small children at home with a husband working 60 hours a week so I could stay at home with them).

    But the Lord was so faithful to this raw newbie…for when I prayed for help He sent help.

    I am incredibly thankful the women God had coming out of the wood work to help soften the blows of those ladies who for whatever reason felt they needed to chastise everyone…everyone but themselves. With the help of the Lord, His word and truly godly, wise and gifted pastors, women and others, I learned to discern toxicity (even in family members) and slowly move away from them; spiritually, mentally, emotionally, and sometimes physically.

    I still hear those awful sayings being said to young women today and I shudder…and I reach out when I can to be one of the “out of the woodwork” ladies.

    When we hear the word blessings we don’t think of trials and tribulations as being a blessing from the Lord. Rather, often, most people’s minds go to “Why am I being punished?” “What have I done so wrong to deserve this?” “Why is her (his) life so blessed and mine so cursed?” “God must be mad at me, what can I do to gain His favor so I too will be blessed like Ms. So and So.”. On FB, lots of children are a blessings, grandchildren are a blessings, good health is a blessing, a big house, good job, nice car, a cruise vaca, and on and on…and they are…they are all a blessing. Every good gift if from the Father of lights… and yet…yet, it’s rare to see someone speak of any painful happening in the life of a Christian as a blessing.

    I’ve always said…”Everyone wants to be the Good Samaritan…but no one, no, not one, wants to be the poor slob in the ditch.” We talk of our good deeds but rarely share our most painful times or deepest needs.

    I’m not suggesting we air it all out on FB or any social media…no no no…but I’ve found that even in some very close tight circles there are still some that feel sharing their needs is being a “weak Christian, with little faith.”

    I’m also not suggesting to vomit our issues for all to hear, anyplace, anytime…no, no, no…even Christ had His three trusted. We have to be careful, yes discern when to speak and when to be silent.

    My most trusted, I’ve learned more and more as I mature in the Lord is Him. He is enough and my first to go to.

    So, what am I trying to say in my very early morning ramblings…that I do believe what you are saying in your blog this morning, but had I read it 40, 30, even 20 years ago, I would have balked. It takes a personal walk, with much growth and increased faith, with much study, knowledge, understanding and intimacy with the Lord to understand the love that is included in the Lord’s chastising.

    Just one more thought…years ago (as a newbie) I think it was Elisabeth Elliot (my very[cg1] first Christian Women’s Conference in Dallas TX, 1983 or so) who shared this.

    Take the problems of 100 women and place them neatly on a large round table. Now, allow those same women to walk around the table and pick up whatever pile of problems they would want to take on for themselves and take home.

    Watch as they circle once, and again and then watch as they each take a pile, it’s always their very own. Why? Because God has already prepared the way ahead of us, for us to cope with the problems we have *IF * we seek Him, call on Him, let Him guide us in obedience and trust.

    I have never forgotten that. Small or big problems….we all have them, and God works through them all.

    I am not the writer you are my dear sister. And my pain levels with my 4 autoimmune diseases (I call them the Boys in the Band” are all at high levels right now so my thinking is not as clear…so I hope my ramblings make sense.

    P.S. I like the Latin root of chastise is castigare, which means “to set or keep right,” or “to make pure.” It’s all to keep us upright and on the right path and make us pure…I like that.

    with much sisterly love in the Lord.

    *Crystal *

    *Above all else, guard your heart,for everything you do flows from it. *

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