LIFE IS THE BEST TEACHER
“Life Is the best teacher.” I’m sure you’ve heard that statement many times.
At the beginning of last year I prayed a verse from Psalm 86 which has had amazing consequences in my life. This is part of a longer prayer of David in which he acknowledges God’s greatness and prays for His ongoing mercy. The prayer I have prayed over and over is verse 11, “Teach me Your way, O Lord, and I will walk in Your truth; give me an undivided heart that I may fear Your name.”
That prayer began a whole new explosion of sometimes painful and unpleasant experiences. I have discovered that the Holy Spirit’s role as teacher is to make sense of senseless experiences so that I can work with Him and not against Him. Because God’s ways are “past finding out”, I can never fathom what’s going on unless He enlightens me. James counsels us to ask for wisdom when we go through all kinds of trials (James 1:5) and God will give it to us liberally if we trust Him. He wants us to understand what’s going on so that we can benefit from our trials and not become disillusioned and rebellious and fall away from Him.
The problem of suffering has puzzled people through the centuries. “Why do good people suffer if we worship a good God?” It is easy to accuse God of being unfair or unkind if we don’t understand His ways. He warned us in Isaiah 55 that “His ways are not our ways”. Both James and Peter tell us in their letters what suffering is all about but it still doesn’t make sense until we ask Him for wisdom to understand our own experience.
I have suffered deep emotional pain through a friendship that turned sour and resulted in false accusations and betrayal, which yielded some surprising results. Two lessons, among many, are changing my life. The first thing I learned is that God sets these kind of circumstances up to expose what is in me. That doesn’t mean that He made my friend betray me. He allowed it to happen for a specific reason. Suffering is like the wind that stirs up the silt at the bottom of the pond. When I was under pressure, what was in me came out. Feelings of anger, guilt, worthlessness, rejection, fear, all came up to the surface. What was the point? They were all hidden inside until the storm hit, and I had to deal with them. The Holy Spirit taught me how and now the collection of emotional garbage inside me is getting smaller as each new storm stirs up more silt.
The second big lesson was that there’s a lot of unnecessary stuff clinging to the outside of me as well. Suffering strips one of the worthless trappings of life like things and people who are a burden, not a blessing. Losing my friend proved to be blessing to me because, I only realized afterwards, her influence on me was pulling me down, not building me up.
We’re all on a journey towards knowing God. He’ll make sure that He sets up whatever trials we need to stir up the silt or strip off the baggage that slows us down in that quest.
Have you read my new book, Learning to be a Son – The Way to the Father’s Heart (copyright 2015, Partridge Publishing)? You’ll love it!