The other night my friend shared with me this beautiful story that gave me a better understanding of how God's love and discipline can be at work at the same time:
There once was a little girl (let's call her Sophie) and her dad (named Charles). Sophie had just finished watching an episode of Dora the explorer and was ready for another one. However Sophie's dad knew that if Sophie didn't get enough sleep she would be cranky the next day. So he told her:
"Sophie, it's time for bed"
Sophie, however didn't want to sleep. She wanted to stay up and watch Dora. So she started to cry. She was very upset.
Sophie's dad saw that Sophie was upset,
picked her up,
held her and
cried with her.
After, he cried with Sophie, he told her that she still needed to go to bed and there would be lots of Dora waiting for her in the morning.
I definitely cried when my friend told me this story. What a beautiful illustration of the love of God and how He mourns with those who mourn and yet still does His will with us because He knows what is best for us.
I am so thankful that we have a God who mourns with us and at the same time disciplines us. What other God can do that? I am so thankful He is a God who mourns and doesn't tell us to just "tough it up and deal". I am so thankful that we can cry out to Him whenever. I am so thankful we are free from condemnation in Christ Jesus. I am so thankful that my God is not an angry God, demanding works from us before we approach His throne. I am so thankful that we can approach His throne of grace, just as we are, knowing He will welcome us home with open arms, just as the father did with the prodigal son.