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 spirits and live! They disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, in order that we may share in his holiness. Hebrews 12, verses 9-10.
The other day I mentioned my parents, stating that they weren’t physical disciplinarians. After my sister and I entered elementary school, I don’t remember Mom or Dad ever spanking us. Especially Dad. Spanking and physical discipline just wasn’t part of him. Yet for years I thought my father was a weak man. It was only after I grew up that I realized how wrong I was, that he was actually a good and fundamentally decent man who stood fast on principles. Dad ‘shook off’ a lot because, if it didn’t interfere with his principles, then it didn’t matter so much. But he rarely gave an inch when his principles were called into question.
One of those principles was that a person, especially a man, should always do their best. I never really knew the side of my father who worked in an office. Dad was an ammunition inspector for the Army, and I don’t recall ever seeing him in the office (because he worked on Army bases where we usually didn’t go). But I have a box full of awards from his 30 years of work testifying that he had always done a great job. I do remember Dad working around the house, doing all kinds of home improvements. He self-taught those things; nobody taught him how fix electrical wiring, hang drywall, or make home repairs. When I was growing up, except for a two year period where we lived in a house that needed no work, I don’t think I could have named a weekend when my dad didn’t work hard at something.
He always did his best.
Since I got out of the Air Force 21 years ago I have worked for eight different companies (nine if you count my own in that I’m currently an independent consultant). I can honestly say that, for most of those jobs, I did my best. A few times I didn’t, and one time I didn’t cost me a job last year. I felt betrayed by those people; maybe some day I’ll share the rest of the story. But the long and short of it was that they abandoned me so I abandoned them and it showed in my work. These days, I love what I’m doing. I enjoy the work, I really enjoy the team I’m working with and the ones I’m leading, and I am energized at the challenge of the task. It’s a pleasure to do my best. When you think about it, I wouldn’t be where I am in this job if “those people” last year hadn’t launched me along the trajectory I’m traveling today. That’s something to be thankful for. See what happens when you do your best?
Have you considered that God is doing His best as well? Moreover, He’s doing it for you, on your behalf, for your good. God made you legitimate. He bought you back from the consequences of your sins and set you on a better path. He gave His Son for you. He gives you food, air, water, shelter, other people, and love and you don’t have to do anything to deserve them. You and I are on God’s mind 24/7 even when He isn’t on ours. Have we really considered that God does His best for us every day, even when we refuse to notice?
It seems so easy to question God when things aren’t going well for us. It seems so easy to curse His name when we’re up against the wall, or when we don’t get what we want. Yet have you considered that these are times when God allows (or brings) adversity into our lives to refine us for better things? I know this is true in my own life, and it hurts when it happens. But things always turn out for the best eventually. God gives us only what we can handle and asks us to handle the negative things only so that it will lead us back to Him somehow. Through them all, He still provides those things mentioned above whether we are in want or in plenty.
God’s a father like me, like my dad. He gives us His best in all things. It’s a trustworthy, true thing to believe, to make the bedrock of your life. Today would be a good day to make sure we do the same for others because of Him.
For further reading: Numbers 16:22, Revelation 22:6, Isaiah 38:16, 2 Peter 1:4.
Lord, thank You for doing Your best for me. Your best is simply You because nothing is better than You.