Has God ever Broken your Legs?
There is something that shepherds have been known to do to sheep that on the surface sounds brutal and inhumane. If one of the flock (particularly a little lamb) is consistently getting lost and wandering off, the shepherd will find it, break its legs, place it on his shoulders, and nurse it back to health. What happens during the healing process is that sheep learns total dependance on and trust in the shepherd. Because of it’s broken leg, it needs the shepherd more than ever and doesn’t leave his side. More importantly, the shepherd doesn’t leave the sheep’s side.
At first, that causes us to potentially be angry and the shepherd, or offer up other ways to train the sheep. However, if the shepherd continued to allow that sheep to wander, before long, it’s going to be eaten by a predator. By breaking the legs, the shepherd now has the opportunity to keep the sheep safe, but to teach it dependance on the shepherd, which is really the ultimate goal.
By comparison, there’s an aspect of our relationship to our Shepherd that is difficult to talk about, and even more difficult to go through - His discipline. The writer of the book of Hebrews explains it much better than I could:
“And have you forgotten the exhortation that addresses you as sons? “My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor be weary when reproved by him. For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives.” It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons. For what son is there whom his father does not discipline? If you are left without discipline, in which all have participated, then you are illegitimate children and not sons. Besides this, we have had earthly fathers who disciplined us and we respected them. Shall we not much more be subject to the Father of spirits and live? For they disciplined us for a short time as it seemed best to them, but he disciplines us for our good, that we may share his holiness. For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.”
Our world has made discipline an enemy of love, but that passage teaches us that it is the very limitless, extravagant, perfect love of God that fuels His discipline of us. As a matter of fact, the author goes so far as to say that if you’ve never experienced the discipline of the Lord, you’re not a legitimate son or daughter. That means that in all of our efforts to avoid the discipline of God and not talk about it because it’s uncomfortable, we’ve avoided one of the indicators that we are His children!
His discipline is always meant to draw us closer and make us more dependent on Him, which leads to holiness and the fruit of righteousness. It may be painful, but it will lead to your greater pleasure in Him. We may be tempted to get angry at Him or think we know a better way for Him to work in our lives, but if we trust Him and the discipline He brings, it will always result in our ultimate good. If He is able to take all the brokenness and sin of our lives and turn it into something beautiful, how much more can He use His very own work of discipline for our good and His glory?
Has God ever broken your legs? How did you respond? You can be sure that if He has brought discipline in your life, it is because He is the Good Shepherd who desires to give you abundant life. In the meantime, you and I must stop our wanderings and depend fully on Him and His leading in our lives.