I think some of the phrasing going on in this thread is problematic (not blaming anyone, just saying).
Punishment and discipline/correction are 2 different things. God’s punishment for sin/wrong-doing is final, permanent, eternal. He has meted out the punishment for sin on His Son so that those who deserve it, can, by faith, appropriate God’s unmerited favor, grace. That’s the gospel. Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you have your sin and its consequence removed. Reject God’s way of salvation and the penalty for your sin remains, awaiting you at the judgment seat.
God’s chastening is, as you’ve remarked, for our benefit, that we might draw closer to Him, worship Him, serve Him. “Whom the Father loves, He chastens.” One of the things that Christians need to remind themselves of again and again, myself included—I’ve been engaging (and perhaps, too strongly) in the verbal banter over the Supreme Court’s decision this week, is that this is not our home, this is not our life. The Bible tells us, “your life is hid in Christ...” and, “...Christ, who is our life...”) etc. We tend to forget that whatever befalls us here is under the watchful eye of God. If it be He calls you to martyrdom, ask for the grace to endure it. If it be He calls you to endure, ask for the grace to endure. If it be He calls you to prosper, ask for the grace to live graciously, selflessly, humbly. The Christian needs to remember this life, these 70 - 80 years, with their disappointments, sorrows, sadness, suffering, are not to be compared to the glory which shall follow.
Now, as to His removing His hand of protection from America, I see it like this: we are living in the day of His grace. Whosoever will may come. Whosoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have everlasting life. All can come to Christ, but not all do. That being said, there is a concerted effort to rise up against the things of God and Christ going on today INCLUDING IN OUR OWN COUNTRY which, for all intents and purposes, pushes the hand of God’s grace away. His grace has been cast out of our schools, out of our public discourse, and, sadly, out of our churches. America is no longer a humble, but a proud people. God resists the proud. America is no longer a just people. God hates injustice. America is no longer a God-fearing people. Love of this world is enmity with God.
We are witnessing God’s grace experiencing diminished returns on a national scale. But God is still gracious and kind to those who love His Son.
Thank you. You much more elequently put together what I was trying to express. God Bless!