It’s the only time I remember my dad and I couldn’t get along on the baseball field. I was eleven and our team was about to face a 12-year-old flame thrower from one of the league’s best teams. Dad wanted me to be ready. I was scared to death.

It was just the two of us for that pregame batting practice session. He was throwing hard. Just like the kid I was about to face. I was terrified and, consequently, not listening to anything he said. He tried to tell me how I could hit that kid, how to catch up with the velocity, but I didn’t listen. In fact, I got angry.

An argument ensued because I didn’t want to make the corrections my dad suggested. So, he benched me that game. I think it’s the only youth league game I didn’t start in all the years I played. But I deserved it. I let my fear turn to stubbornness and my stubbornness to anger and my anger to belligerence. I rejected the instruction of my father, so he did the only loving thing he could: he didn’t let me start the game.

Proverbs 3:11-12 reveals the attitude I needed–the one I was taught that day:” My son, do not reject the discipline of the Lord, or loathe his reproof, for whom the Lord loves he reproves, even as a father, the son in whom he delights.”

This is a lifelong lesson.

Our problem is that we believe we know it all, or we’re scared to admit that we don’t. Most of our mistakes–let’s be honest–stem from our unwillingness to submit to the instruction, the discipline, the correction, the “reproof” of those in authority over us. God. Our parents and coaches. A boss or administrator.

Yet, here’s what God wants us to understand about the discipline he brings to us: he loves us and wants better for us than we can achieve in our current state of wisdom and knowledge. Often, it is only through discipline that we learn best from the Lord.

My dad sat me out that day. God might allow some hardship to come into your life. Whatever his method of discipline, it’s vital to remember that he isn’t trying to destroy you, but to crush the “you” out of you, for the purpose of developing the character of Jesus within you. Let him have his way, even if it involves tough discipline.

Lord Jesus, stop me in my tracks, show me the error of my ways, discipline me like the loving Father you are. Amen.