PROVISION FOR A HEAVENLY FATHER
Get to Know the Coach
Vince Lombardi, the legendary coach of football’s Green Bay Packers, once said of the rigorous training he put his players through, “I’ve never known a man worth his salt who in the long run, deep down in his heart, didn’t appreciate the grind, the discipline.”*
When Lombardi’s bulldog voice barked across the practice field during twice-a-day spring practices—“Run it again! We’re going to do it until you get it right!”—some players probably resented his demanding ways. But what they resented during practice, they respected in the postseason. Why? Because there were few years during the Lombardi era when the players didn’t take home a championship of some sort.
But life doesn’t work like the National Football League. The pressure doesn’t end after a nine-month stretch; we don’t get three months to catch our breath. Nor does the stress evaporate at the end of the day when we can get away from the coach for a few hours. For the Christian, God is always there. The practice sessions last a lifetime, and the rewards are to be appropriated by faith, not by sight.
It’s no wonder that many Christians, probably like some of Lombardi’s players, get tired of the discipline God imposes on His “team.” But there’s a simple reason why: They haven’t taken time to get to know the Coach.
The writer to the Hebrews, quoting the wisest king who ever lived, says that no children think at the time that their fathers’ discipline is either deserved or necessary. After all, who likes pain? And yet, when we get to know our heavenly Father, we discover that He never—never—disciplines us except for our good. He never trains us to learn anything that we don’t really need to know.
The next time you feel like you’re in the middle of one of God’s twice-a-days, just remember that the righteousness and peace you’ll experience later will make a Super Bowl trophy look like a cereal-box toy by comparison.
God’s discipline of you is proof of His love for you.
*Cited in Thoughts on the Business of Life,” Forbes, retrieved at https://www.forbes.com/quotes/9452.