Near Miss

Driving home after dropping my husband off at work, the sky was still dark and only thing I could see were the lights on the vehicles around me. As I traveled a long stretch of green belt, all of a sudden, there was movement on the road in front of me. A raccoon had wandered out into the road and was standing there watching me drive toward him. He stood there until the last possible second and then scampered back to the side of the road. Thankful to have missed the big fellow, I wondered what he was trying to do. Was he really trying to accomplish something? Was he testing whether or not the cars would stop for him? Was he proving his invincibility?
The more I thought about it, I began to question whether or not I do the same sort of thing with sin. Do I test the limits just to see how far I can go? As a mother, I daily deal with my children’s testing the boundaries. When I was a little girl, my mother used to say to me, “This is the line – don’t cross it!” In other words, ‘you can push me only so far and then there will be consequences’. I know that with my children, there are times that they seem to be trying me on to see what I will let them get away with before there are repercussions. It generally begins with small behaviours; getting up late, leaving dishes on the counter, not cleaning up their rooms. The problem comes when I overlook the small things for so long that they move on to bigger issues; attitudes and obedience. I try not to constantly dog their heels. They know what is right and wrong and I want them to desire to do what is best but sometimes, as their parent, as their caregiver, I have to apply consequences to their choices.
Had the raccoon not moved from the street, I probably would have hit him. Not because I wanted to but because I was in a great big vehicle with other vehicles behind me and it is unlikely that I could have stopped safely in time. When God applies consequences to our lives, it is not to punish us, it is to protect us from the impending disaster that lays for us if we choose to continue on a disobedient path.
Proverbs 3:12
The Lord disciplines those He loves as a father the son he delights in.
Hebrews 12:5-11
And you have forgotten that word of encouragement that addresses you as sons: “My son, do not make light ofthe Lord’s discipline, and do not lose heart when he rebukes you, because the Lord disciplines those he loves, and he punishes everyone he accepts as a son.” Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as sons.For what son is not disciplined by his father? If you are not disciplined (and everyone undergoes discipline), then you are illegitimate children and not true sons. Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of our spirits and live! Our fathers disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, that we mayshare in his holiness.No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.
If it seems as though God is punishing you, take some time in prayer to consider what it is that God may be trying to teach you. I have found that when I finally have that ‘a-ha’ moment I am so thankful that God protected me from myself by setting limits and chastising me when I crossed that line.
Psalm 52:1
The steadfast love of God endures all the day.
Jeremiah 31:3
The Lord has appeared to me as of old saying, “I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore, with loving-kindness I have drawn you.”
Ephesians 1:4
God chose us in Him before the foundation of the world that we should be holy and without blame before Him.
2 Corinthians 13:14
The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit b e with you all.

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