At times during my years in ministry, I have been overwhelmed by enemies who have risen up against me. In those times, I felt the discipline of the Lord like a rod on my back. I remember one period in particular, when I was being slandered on all sides. Other ministers asked me, “David, I’m hearing questionable things about you. Are they true? Is all this stuff about you coming from the devil, or is God trying to speak to you?”
Even that question offended me and I became totally overwhelmed by the emotional pain of it all. I grew physically exhausted from the ongoing battle and could barely face going to church to preach. One morning my wife literally had to lift me up from my chair in my study. About halfway to church, I told her I couldn’t go on. I could no longer face another person in our services wondering if I was a phony.
Finally I cried out, “Lord, what have I done to deserve this? Where is my sin?” Then God directed me to this prayer of Jeremiah: “O Lord, correct me, but with judgment; not in thine anger, lest thou bring me to nothing” (Jeremiah 10:24).
These words from Jeremiah became my daily prayer throughout that severe time of testing: “Lord, chasten me and judge me if you must. But, please, don’t do it in anger! If I hear one more wrathful word, it’ll destroy me. Please don’t reduce me to dust, Lord. I’m low enough!”
Whenever I uttered this prayer, the Lord answered me, “David, if I choose to correct you, it’s because I love you. This test is not about My judgment at all. I am merciful and loving toward you, so stand still and see My glory!” This knowledge of His glory carried me through to a place of total rest—and God vindicated me on all sides.
Beloved, once you have this revelation of God’s glory, you need never again fear that He will correct you in anger. He carries His rod in a tender, loving hand. He will discipline you, but only in gracious compassion. He will never hurt you or cast you aside. Should this not cause our hearts to melt before Him in worship?
“For whom the Lord loveth he correcteth; even as a father the son in whom he delighteth” (Proverbs 3:12).