“You guys need to stay in bed,” I said as I pulled the door closed behind me. I was babysitting three boys, five and under, who shared a room. Between the middle one climbing dressers and the tears of the youngest, I had gone into their room multiple times after putting them to bed.

Shortly after I closed the door the final time, I heard the middle one say to the youngest, “John John, cry so Miss Julie will come in here.” I dropped my head into the palm of my hand and let out an exasperated laugh. A few seconds later, the little one started whining.

When their mom returned home, I told her about their antics. To discipline them, the boys had toys taken away that could only be earned back through good behavior. I felt bad that they had to receive the punishment but relieved they would learn and hopefully behave better next time.

Kids aren’t the only ones who need discipline. In the book of Jeremiah, God describes “a time of trouble” for His people (Jeremiah 30:7), a time when He couldn’t “let [them] go unpunished” (Jeremiah 30:11) but “had to punish” them because their sins were many and their guilt was great (Jeremiah 30:15). Thankfully, God’s plan didn’t stop there. He lovingly promised, “I will give you back your health and heal your wounds” (Jeremiah 30:17). Although God had disciplined His people for their sin, He was working through it to heal and restore, to “bring them home” (Jeremiah 30:3).

Through Jesus, we too have a way to return home to our Father. As a caring Father, God will lovingly guide and discipline in a way that’s “always good for us” (Hebrews 12:10). And in time “there will be a peaceful harvest of right living for those who are trained in this way” (Jeremiah 30:11).

NLT 365-day reading plan passage for today: John 3:22-36