I know, O Lord, that a man’s life is not his own; it is not for man to direct his steps. —Jeremiah 10:23
The path to joy is submitting to God’s Plan A or His Plan B. Victor Hugo said, “Like the trampling of a mighty army, so is the force of an idea whose time has come.” If I may paraphrase that, I would say that, like the trampling of a mighty army, so is the force of one’s anointing whose time has come. But one has to wait on God’s time, and if the disciplining continues, God isn’t finished with what we need.
There are, basically, three kinds of chastening, or of God’s discipline:
1. Internal chastening. This is God’s primary way of dealing with us. It is God’s way of trying to get our attention via preaching, teaching, hymns, our daily devotions, and through prayer. I call it God’s Plan A.
2. External chastening. This is Plan B. It is God’s strategy utilizing outside factors such as losing your job, financial reverse, putting you flat on your back, being swallowed by a big fish as Jonah was, or whatever it takes to get your attention.
3. Terminal chastening. I pray that you or I will never need this. It is the worst scenario for a person who has truly been saved. This manner of discipline, generally speaking, usually takes one of two forms: (1) physical death, as when Ananias and Sapphira lied to the Holy Spirit (Acts 5:1-11), or (2) stone deafness to the Spirit so that one can no longer hear God’s voice (Heb. 5:11-6:6).
God does not chasten us idly or without reason; it is exactly what we need for the task He has assigned for us. He has a work for you to do that nobody can do as well as you can. Your own gift, or anointing, is unique. But if your time has not yet come, it is because there is a little bit more work for God to do in you.
Excerpted from Pure Joy (Charisma House, 2006).