One of the children (around age seven) in our house tried to cut a piece of bread with one of our very sharp knives. He cut himself and, blood spurting out, came rather humbly to his mother. Her response was of interest to me. She efficiently got a napkin to staunch the blood and sent a child for a bandaid. Then she looked her son in the eye and reminded him that they have a family rule about not using knives without permission.
I’ve wondered before when saying the parent equivalent of “I told you so” whether that was effective or wise when our children disobey, so I listened in on the conversation.
She did not belabor the fact that he had disobeyed. Rather, she quickly drew the connection between his parents authority and his safety. Mommy and daddy insist you obey because we want you to be safe. I liked that because it was clear she had an already articulated goal for instruction and correction. She communicated very clearly that the rules she and her husband enforce are for the child’s benefit. It’s a great picture of God’s love and discipline for us.
Here is how Jeremiah puts it:
For the LORD will not cast off for ever: But though he cause grief, yet will he have compassion according to the multitude of his mercies. For he doth not afflict willingly nor grieve the children of men.
Wherefore doth a living man complain, a man for the punishment of his sins? Let us search and try our ways, and turn again to the LORD. Let us lift up our heart with our hands unto God in the heavens. Lamentations 3:31-33, 40-41
This whole chapter is worth meditating. Sometimes God does lead us into night and not into day. That is a hard truth without the context of God’s faithfulness, mercy, and desire for our repentance and holiness.