Wednesday, February 3, 2016
Struggling with Life Lessons from God?
1 + 1 = 2
Do you remember learning that little arithmetic lesson? At the time, learning all those addition problems seemed so hard. In those early stages of mathematics, addition seemed difficult enough, none of us imagined that one day we would have to move beyond that to division, decimals, quadrilateral equations, cosines and derivatives! But 1+1 was an important basic lesson upon which all the rest of mathematics was dependent. And looking back on all the different kinds of lessons I’ve learned in my life, 1+1 seems so simple in comparison!
In the course of your life, have you ever wondered what it is God is trying to teach you, what the lessons are you need to learn? Even people who don’t believe in God still talk about the lessons they have learned in life, through the school of hard knocks or the voice of experience. Perhaps you feel like you are at a point in life at which you are having to learn some lessons you’d rather not learn…or at the least, learn some other way! This may especially be true if you are somewhere in the process of finding your way through the treacherous waters of divorce, no matter how you came to be there.
I once asked a wise friend what I could learn out of my first marriage to help me do better were I to marry again. He simply said, “Nothing.” I realized he was teaching me a lesson even then, which was that every marriage I unique and any woman I might someday marry would also be unique, and I needed to treat both accordingly. At least, that’s what I got out of it.
What are you learning?
One big thing I learned going through my divorce was, that I NEVER want to experience THAT again! I also learned that it isn’t the quick little solve all that the $79 divorce package ads, or Hollywood portrayals of it, would have you believe. I learned how easily the best of intentions can be twisted, misunderstood and create consequences far from what was intended. But this blog isn’t about what I learned; it is more about tips to help readers who are struggling with life’s lessons. So let’s move on to that topic.
There are those people who look at everything that comes into their lives as sent from God for the purpose of teaching them lessons.
There are some things, though, that I’m not convinced God sends our way, even though one could argue that he at least allows them to come.
Somehow I think that thinking they all come to teach us lessons seems a little egocentric.
Maybe they come because God is wanting to teach somebody else something as they observe our lives.
Maybe they come because warm humid air met with cold air and created a hurricane or tornado through natural processes in an area nearby where we happen to live, i.e. things occur that are just part of the way the world is.
Surely there are times when God is trying to get our attention and trying to teach us the things we need to learn, but perhaps sometimes things just happen, too.
Regardless, though, I do believe that no matter how things come to occur in our lives, whether they are part of God’s “perfect” will or not, God will use everything in our life for our benefit if we are open to God’s voice. Even awful things that happen to us can be used of God for something good, although we may not always be able to see it right away.
I would suggest that it is important to develop a habit of listening for God to speak, especially through the scriptures, no matter what circumstances we find ourselves in.
I would also suggest it can be a mistake to decide in advance what it is God might be using the situation to show us, and open instead to the possibility that his purposes might be bigger or other than we imagine. It can also be very useful, as we deal with hard times, to learn from the experiences of others by seeking their advice or reading their stories, as a tool for us to discover God’s meaning for our own time. And I would make another observation. Many of the lessons I have learned in my life, I often only realized in retrospect what the true learnings had actually been. Things that seem so powerful and important in the moment have paled over time, while more subtle insights or character traits emerged long after the forging event had passed.
So what are you supposed to be learning in the midst of your divorce? I think the most important thing to learn is a simple concept, but a hard one to apply: that God is worthy of our trust, even in the most difficult of situations. Master that lesson, and everything else will come in its own time.