“Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline, so be zealous and repent.” Revelation 3:19
It was March 2018 in Valdosta, Georgia, where my wife and I got stationed for the past three years in the Air Force. Those three years were the first time we had been away from our home church, family, and friends as Christians. We looked for a home church in Georgia, but we never found one we regularly attended because of our judgments. Not being part of a church was hard; this and many other bad decisions caused us to fall away from God’s purpose for our lives and fall into sin.
In late 2017, we conceived a child named Elias, and he was a miracle baby. My wife and I struggle with infertility and have tried various fertility treatments. What is amazing is that Elias was conceived without any treatments whatsoever. My wife and I were ecstatic, as we knew he was and will always be a true miracle and gift from God. However, at 24 weeks into the pregnancy, my wife went into labor. That night which should have been joyous for me, was a night full of regret and rude awakenings for myself because I had one too many drinks that night. My pregnant and in-labor wife had to drive us to the hospital, and the rest was a blur. Because of the drinking, I kept passing out in the hospital and I could not fully be there for my wife, which I will always look back on whenever I want to drink again. After my son was born prematurely at 1 pound and 12 inches long, he had to get transported to another NICU in Albany, Georgia, an hour and a half away, the closest hospital that could accommodate him. The following eight days were indeed a battle for Elias, as they had to put him on and off a ventilator while battling infection after infection and being resuscitated once.
God took him home on April 2, 2018. Understandably, after watching our child pass away in front of our eyes, we were devastated, and sometimes still are. After looking back, we know this was God’s rebuke and discipline in our lives. We were not living for God; we were living for ourselves. After our son went home, we returned to Michigan to our home church and family, which allowed us to build up our relationship with God and realize that we only need Jesus in our lives. That is the point. Jesus loves us so much that He does not want to discipline us, but it is out of necessity; so, in our brokenness, we come back to Him. He is waiting with open arms! Let us self-reflect and see if we are doing anything Jesus has to rebuke us for. We need to “be zealous and repent” proactively before we are lovingly disciplined.