In my lifetime I’ve had a number of coaches and a few bosses that were a bit extreme you could say in their leadership styles. I’ve had coaches for different sports I played in High School who yelled at me, cursed and even accosted me verbally to the point I became so angry I could bite the head off a 10 penny nail and yes… in the process made me play harder and better than I ever would have otherwise! I’ve experienced bosses who yelled and made demands that seemed a bit over the top, used bad language and even belittled me from time to time and yet pushed me and my staff to work harder and get even greater results for the company! In today’s climate of “non offensiveness” and “you better not hurt my feelings” they would be the target of many a lawsuit and yet, I remember each of them with great fondness and appreciation for making me better than I thought I would be in sports, business and in life! In November one state lawmaker introduced a “Suck It Up, Buttercup” bill in response to how colleges have handled students’ anger and sadness over the election. The bill would target state universities that use taxpayer dollars for additional grief counseling or other things like “cry rooms” to help students cope with election-related sadness. He said that it’s “a waste of taxpayer dollars and that also doesn’t prepare kids for life. In life there’s winners and losers and when your car breaks down, your kids get sick or you have to take a second job to pay your mortgage, you don’t get to go to a cry zone, you don’t get to pet a pony. You have to deal with it,” I believe it’s called real life, and we had better be ready to deal with it!
The Apostle Peter writing to believers with more challenges than any of us will ever face in a lifetime said… “In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ” I believe he give to them and to us some valuable lessons for life, the first of which is this. Life won’t always be easy, and trials may come, but you are valuable to God! Life happens, but to God, you are valuable In fact, in the trial, you will see Christ more clearly! You know, it is impossible to love someone you do not know. But it is possible to love someone you have never seen-take the blind mother of a child! You and I have never seen the Lord Jesus. We may not see him until we get to heaven. But we love him. We learn to see Christ and love him more deeply in the trials! This is part of the value of testing and how we learn of Jesus in those times. Secondly Peter reminds us that Trials are inevitable so don’t be surprised! “Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you; but rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ’s sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy.” Some of the most wonderful lessons we learn in life are learned in the trials! F.B. Meyer wrote “If I am told that it is a rough journey that will lead me to my destination, every jolt and bump along the road remind me I’m on the right road!” This leads me to one last truth that Peter gives us, Trials are temporary not eternal! Oh, they are painful now… but one day, it will be worth it all!
Someone once said, “Tell me; I’ll forget. Show me; I may remember. But involve me and I’ll understand.” Where I come from there’s Good Old Boy’s saying: you don’t learn anything the second time you’re kicked by a mule! It’s often the lessons learned the hardest that help us the most! A Chinese boy who wanted to learn about jade went to study with a talented old teacher. This gentleman put a piece of the stone into the youth’s hand and told him to hold it tight. Then he began to talk of philosophy, men, women, the sun, and almost everything under it. After an hour he took back the stone and sent the boy home. The procedure was repeated for weeks. The boy became frustrated when would he be told about jade? but he was too polite to interrupt his venerable teacher. Then one day when the old man put a stone into his hands, the boy cried out instantly, “That’s not jade!” To best be suited for life and eternity we must face the reality of facing life with the trust of an eternal God’s love and perspective. Then we are really ready to live!
Tim Throckmorton is the former Executive Pastor of the Plymouth Heights Church of the Nazarene in Franklin Furnace Ohio and the Portsmouth First Church of the Nazarene in Franklin Furnace, Ohio. He is currently the Senior Pastor at Crossroads Church in Circleville, Ohio.ReachReach