In my post, “God is In Control,” I briefly mentioned that some of God’s lesson’s hurt. I felt like I should expand upon this truth. From an early age, we learn that some lessons are painful. I’m not referring to corporal punishment; I’m referring to life lessons.
When your parents’ car door snaps shut while your hand is in the way, this is a painful way to learn to obey your parents. Or, you are losing a best friend because his or her family is moving away. This lesson teaches us the value of maintaining relationships and skills to make new friends.
A grandparent passes away, a “small” lie wrecks a friendship, and failing to practice your band instrument results in you being assigned to study hall while the band prepares to march in your town’s 4th of July parade. These painful lessons should teach us how to be better people and citizens.
If we are self-aware and learn those lessons, we will be better followers of Jesus. Some people are unable to learn from lessons that hurt. These people often become bitter or angry. We must not allow our hurts to blossom into these.
Learning From Lincoln
Abraham Lincoln served as a congressman in the Illinois Legislature from 1834 to 1840. His heart’s desire was to help the people of Illinois in a practical way by improving their roads, bridges, railroads, and so forth. Sadly, after Illinois geared up for growth, the state entered an economic depression. The state legislature stopped LincLincoln’st initiatives, and he became the poster child for causing thousands of people to lose their homes. Being labeled a “failure,” Lincoln became deeply depressed, developed money problems, and broke off his engagement with Mary Owens.
It took years of incredibly hard and adept work for Lincoln to recover, but as we know, he did. He became financially successful and went on to transform a nation and fulfill his desire “to link his name with something that would redound [contribute greatly] to the interest of his fellow man1.”
Lincoln was crushed by a lesson that hurt. That lesson was this: “Good intentions can be snuffed out in an instant by events beyond your control. When that happens, people will be unforgiving. Yet, through perseverance, you can still accomplish your calling.” I wonder, would Lincoln have been the president our nation needed if he had never faced adversity that took years to overcome?
Some of God’s Lessons Hurt
Being a child of the One True God does not exempt us from lessons that hurt. What may be one of the single most challenging verses in the entire Bible is this:
“28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”Romans 8:28
This lesson sometimes accompanies great loss. The verse is framed on both sides with powerful declarations.
27 And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God.
29 For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters.
Verse 28 is often reflected on when a child is seriously injured in an accident or when a high school student is rejected by the only university he or she ever planned to attend. It is sometimes used to comfort an adult when he or she finds out that their marriage partner for life has filed for divorce. Nevertheless, the ashes of our hopes and dreams are the ashes of the door God opens for us. Still, some of God’s lessons hurt.
Image by Clarence Alford from Pixabay
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1 – Goodreads