Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as his children. For what children are not disciplined by their father?
Another interesting product of New Year's day, was the New Year's House party run by Oxygen. I'm not talking about a follow-up to the Christmas Party, but rather an all-day marathon of my favourite television series: House, on the Oxygen channel.
For those of you who are not familiar with the show, House is about a brilliant diagnostician called Gregory House who only takes on medical cases he finds interesting and diagnoses them perfectly. He is like the Sherlock Holmes of medicine, and his Watson is an oncologist named James Wilson.
Of course, the show is about more than just the two of them. But for the purpose of this discussion they are all that matter.
Now the interesting thing about House & Wilson is that House is a jackass while Wilson may just be the kindest Dr. you ever saw on TV. But what really lit the bulb for this article was this conversation between House and Wilson from one of the episodes that day:
It was the part about ruling the world that really did it. Because that got me thinking about God and what I believe about caring. You see, I believe that House & Wilson symbolise the two extremes of caring. I believe that when you truly care, you constantly run the risk of becoming either too strict or too sympathetic.
For example if you care about table settings and you worked very hard to learn how to do them, then it would bother you to see an improperly set table. As a result, you could be that much more strict when you teach others to set a table. But on the flip side, you might also be that much more sympathetic to mistakes because you also, struggled through them.
Naturally our personalities tend towards one of these two extremes, and most of us end up somewhere in the middle: Sympathetic towards some things, and strict towards others. But very few end up as sympathetic as James Wilson, and even fewer as strict as Gregory House. Now everyone loves sympathy, so Wilson-type characters are easy to love and accept. But as you will find should you watch House, the strict ones are much easier to hate. In fact it is a rare episode where House's caring is appreciated - and even then, only at the end of the episode.
Still, it is undeniable that it often takes both House and Wilson to solve the difficult cases. House makes the tough calls, and Wilson brings the humanity to them. So if the same dynamic applies to real life (which I believe it does), then it only makes sense that to solve all life's problems, an equal amount of House and Wilson are required.
Yet, this is where things get complicated when it comes to God. Because people like to believe that God is only Wilson, and that He is never House. That because He is all powerful, He never needs to be strict - and yet we in our everyday lives, see the benefits of strictness. As parents, as teachers, as managers, and as leaders, we know that a certain amount of strictness is required to guide fellow human beings onto the right path.
This is why I inwardly laugh whenever aethiests say "I will never believe in a God that would do X, or Y, or Z. Isn't He supposed to love us!? How could He love us and do something like that!?" as if it is unfathomable to love and be strict. When in fact the opposite is the case. Just as our parents beat and punished us when we were kids, so too must God beat and punish us every now and again.
So if anything, I would say that with an unfathomable amount of love comes an unfathomable capacity for compassion and for austerity. So when we think about the hardships of life, we should also remember Hebrews 12:7.