I've had a very difficult life. Very few seasons of good times with the majority of my life being one trial (or multiple severe trials) stretching out before me as far as I can see!
On this particular day, I was driving my three kids home after picking them up from school. My daughter was complaining about school and taking tests. She doesn't like preparing for them - the act of studying and having to spend time studying. She doesn't like taking them - the pressure of trying to recall the answers to questions. She doesn't like getting the results - especially when she wanted to do better on tests. She expressed a desire to never have tests. I sympathized with her, letting her she is not alone in this struggle. I told her tests in school are an important way for teachers to evaluate her understanding of the subjects she's taking and it can prepare her for a future career. We discussed the fact that unfortunately, the process of learning never stops and there are many types of tests.
I told her that in life God uses tests to show us where we are (what we've learned) and what areas we need to work on (what we need to study more). Personally, relationally, professionally, spiritually, physically, and on and on and on. We continue to develop and learn in all these areas which means we will always have tests in some way or the other. I encouraged her to look at tests as an opportunity for learning and growth. I encouraged her that setting good habits in studying, along with good attitudes about learning, testing and trials will help her in the future as her responsibilities grow and others depend on her. Our conversation was fairly quick and she both understood and acknowledged she agreed with me. We came away from the conversation remembering that learning is actually a good thing. Testing can be difficult and stressful. Yet it teaches us about ourselves, others, the world and God. My other two children were quiet during this conversation. I don't know if they listened or where thinking about other things. Often in the car there is a bunch of conversations going at once so having the time to address this aspect of her life was unusual!
As I started reviewing this post this morning I recalled my frustration at the trials of life...I recalled the times I've wanted to change my story and give myself a happy ending (starting today!). My life is exhausting and emotionally charged. Past or present trauma seems to lurk around every corner. I often wish, pray and BEG for a break. Just give me a month of peace and prosperity and I'll be good to go for whatever you want the next 39 years. Things remain difficult. I struggle through many days and get to the end with the knowledge the next day will be another struggle. Yet what I have craved - a time of rest and prosperity - should be more concerning.
Matthew 5: 3 - 13
|Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.|
Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.
|Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.|
|Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.|
|Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.|
|Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.|
|Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.|
|Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.|
|Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.|
|Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.|
|Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.|
Maybe we should be concerned in prolonged seasons of prosperity. These verses show God sees the struggles, tears and down-trodden people. He sees the desires of our hearts. He not only sees, He understands the struggles. AND each one of them has a result and a purpose. People who are blessed with seasons of rest may have turned away from God without realizing it. If life is easy people can get complacent. People that are meek, mournful, poor in spirit truly know their need and desperation. They deeply feel losses, pain and even joys when they do come. Often my mindset is just to survive the difficulties...And try not to complain, which I often fail at. I often don't feel God with me and sometimes I get very angry with Him. In time he breaks through to me and I see glimpses of Him. It can be very unsettling in those times of doubt. Yet they humble me and teach me. I don't always want to learn the lessons before me. But each day I wake up and and face them. So finishing this post today has been encouraging to me. I hope it has helped you in some way. Feel free to share any comments!
Originally started March 6th, 2014