SCRIPTURE URGES US to mature in our faith to the point that we can find wisdom and instruction during times of difficulty (cf. Rom. 5:3-5; 2 Cor. 12:10).
It’s a biblical approach (cf. 1 Pet. 1:6-7), but the tuition fees are expensive and the courses can be incredibly challenging.
The Psalmist wrote, “Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I keep your word” (Psm. 119:67; cf. Rom. 8:28–emphasis mine, mb).
While we are inclined to ask God for ease and that He’ll deliver us from pain in all of its agonizing forms, He sometimes reminds us that the best life-education is earned and learned while attending UHK–the University of Hard Knocks (Prov. 17:3; Jas. 1:2-4, 12; 1 Pet. 4:12-19).
So, what are some of the courses we must take in order to get our adversity degree (1 Pet. 5:10)?
PERSPECTIVE 101. Paul taught, “For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory” (2 Cor. 4:17).
Noted author, Robert Fulghum, once wrote: “One of life’s best coping mechanisms is to know the difference between an inconvenience and a problem. If you break your neck, if you have nothing to eat, if your house is on fire—then you’ve got a problem. Everything else is an inconvenience. Life is inconvenient. Life is lumpy. A lump in the oatmeal, a lump in the throat and a lump in the breast are not the same kind of lump. Once needs to learn the difference.
REALITY MANAGEMENT. Jesus said, “It rains on the just and the unjust…” (Mat. 5:45). Job said, “Man who is born of woman is of few days and full of trouble…” (Job 14:1).
Everybody experiences pain. None of us are exempt from tragedy and problems simply because we are children of God. If baptism served as an insurance policy against any form of harm or heartache, folks would accept Jesus for no other reason that to be spared such.
LIFE APPRECIATION. The Psalmist asked rhetorically, “What man can live and not see death? Can he deliver his life from the power of the grave?” (Psm. 89:48; cf. Prov. 27:1; Heb. 9:27).
Death does not discriminate because of age. Read the obituary column in your local newspaper. People of all ages die–infants in the womb, innocent children, teens, young and middle-aged adults, and senior citizens all step into eternity on a daily basis.
We learn to be grateful and thankful for our life when we recognize that our time on earth is limited at best and that we have no promise of tomorrow (cf. Jas. 4:14; Psm. 39:4; 78:39; 90:10, 12).
“God loves you and I love you and that’s the way it’s gonna be!”–Mike