We are sometimes poor judges of what love looks like. When pain is involved we are apt to say, this cannot be love. (Thus spanking of children has gone out of vogue, for instance.) But God’s love is our model. And this kind of love goes far beyond the cozy warm feeling we get singing the familiar old round: “Behold what manner of love the Father has given unto us…That we should be called the sons of God.” We must also measure into this love Hebrews 12–“For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives. It is for discipline that you have to endure (running the particular race set before you). God is treating you as sons.”
Discipline is painful but its goal is a share in God’s holiness. (Heb.12:10) We are ‘accepted in the Beloved’, and declared righteous on the basis of Jesus’ righteous offering of Himself on our behalf, but we are not finished products. God’s preparing us for glory! What love!
C.S. Lewis captures this so well.
Those Divine demands which sound to our natural ears most like those of a despot and least like those of a lover, in fact marshal us where we should want to go if we knew what we wanted. He demands our worship, our obedience, our prostration. Do we suppose that they can do Him any good, or fear, like the chorus in Milton, that human irreverence can bring about ‘His glory’s diminution’? A man can no more diminish God’s glory by refusing to worship Him than a lunatic can put out the sun by scribbling the word ‘darkness’ on the walls of his cell. But God wills our good, and our good is to love Him (with that responsive love proper to creatures) and to love Him we must know Him: and if we know Him, we shall in fact fall on our faces. If we do not, that only shows that what we are trying to love is not yet God—though it may be the nearest approximation to God which our thought and fantasy can attain. Yet the call is not only to prostration and awe; it is to a reflection of the Divine life, a creaturely participation in the Divine attributes which is far beyond our present desires. We are bidden to ‘put on Christ’, to become like God. That is, whether we like it or not, God intends to give us what we need, not what we now think we want. Once more, we are embarrassed by the intolerable compliment, by too much love, not too little.
–C.S. Lewis The Problem of Pain, p.46,47