Just Wait Till Your Father Gets Home


Blessed is the man whom God corrects; so do not despise the discipline of the Almighty. (Job 5:17)

I’ll give him this: God is definitely a creative spanker.  We’ve got expulsions, salt licks, fire and brimstone, live burial, plagues, skin diseases, stonings, hungry fishes, famines, floods, invasions, locusts, eyes for eyes, and tooth for tooths.  God chastens, scourges, convicts, corrects, refutes, reproves, rebukes, scoffs, and even laughs at us.  He’s got more options on the menu than Dame Delilah’s Dungeon of Delights.  I bet he even does windows.

So why does he do it?  Well, the first answer is that we’ve probably got it coming. With a few notable exceptions (one of which you can read about in my forthcoming autobiography, I’m Just Better Than You) humanity deserves a smack in the head. We are pathological liars, thieves, cheats, nymphomaniacs, gluttons, hypocrites, whiners, killers, delinquents, megalomaniacs, misers, and, in some cases, Republicans.  Considering our behavioral resumés, it’s surprising God hasn’t roasted our marshmallows already.

But besides being a recompense (ie: payback, justice, wrong place/wrong time) for our moral Munchkinism, the Bible would have us believe that a trip to the divine woodshed is a blessing.  This has a nice ring to it until it’s you at the raw end of the blessing.  Take Job, for instance.  God lets the devil run roughshod all over him. Job loses his family, his property, his wealth, and his nice complexion.  Even worse, God spares his wife so she can nag the guy to the brink of insanity.  Job’s lot ain’t so hot—and even according to God he’s an innocent man!

According to the theory, Job is blessed.  (Sure, he gets more and better stuff after the ordeal, but try to tell this good news to his family unit who are now six feet under.)  What’s he supposed to do?  Say “Gee, thanks, God. I didn’t really like my first set of kids anyway”?  Weird stuff.  To his credit, though, Job didn’t appear all that grateful for the unsolicited blessing, probably because it didn’t include a replacement for his wife.  One good thing about this theory is that it makes us parents feel better when we whack our own kids.  So there is a bright side.

The Bible does allow that no discipline is pleasant at the time.  It is only later that the good stuff supposedly comes out of it.  The Bible calls it a “harvest of righteousness.”  This means that once the bruises heal up you will be more like God.  Who’d have thought that God walks with a limp.


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