Dad used to tell me, “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.” Coach would say, “No pain, no gain.” And one teacher would remark, “We learn best through adversity.”
When I was 17 years old, that sounded like great wisdom. After all, I didn’t face much in the way of adversity or pain in those days. I thought that running wind sprints after practice was torture. And math tests certainly were a challenge. But life was pretty easy back then.
Those who read my column with any regularity know that my family faced a life-changing and life-shattering event last June when my youngest son was in a catastrophic truck accident. There have been many other challenges to go with this situation, but that event has been the biggest challenge I have ever faced.
But recently, we had another of those “moments” when you wonder if you can take any more. In November, we had laminate flooring installed in our home. It was time to replace the carpeting, and we thought this would be easier for our son to navigate.
But then came that day when a toilet overflowed. There was a river of water from the bathroom, through the bedroom, into the den and finally the kitchen. Laminate flooring, only four months old, ruined. It was a sickening sight.
The first good news is that insurance will cover the majority of the costs. The second good news is in the series of lessons that you learn in the midst of such trials. Compared to the events of last summer, this was small potatoes. Material possessions can be replaced. Additionally, we learn about our patience and character when faced with such trials.
Jesus once said, “As a man thinks in his heart, so is he.” He was reminding us that we can hide our character from others. We can pretend to be something we are not. But who we are is clear to the one who can read our hearts. God knows who we are deep down inside.
I have to be honest. I know I learn life lessons through adversity, but I recently asked the Lord not to teach me anything new right now. I was only half serious. I want to learn all that I can from him. But I would like to escape some of the trials of life if I can. I must be prepared.
And so must you. God has much to teach us, but we must be careful not to waste these opportunities to learn. Is God trying to teach you something? Are you seeking to learn? Don’t waste a tragedy. Remember that God will never leave you or forsake you. You can trust him, for he always is trustworthy.