I almost always prefer the “easy way” to get something done. When I was a young teenager looking for work, I ended up dong many things that were not easy, or fun. Now, when I see a dirty job that needs to be done, one of the first things I think is, “Isn’t there a machine that would do this?” As I have gone through my life and looked back, I have realized that there were not many lessons learned by doing things the “easy way.” I have also found that when things have been tough beyond my abilities, that I have learned the most, and benefitted far more.
Solomon wrote, “Sorrow is better than laughter: for by the sadness of the countenance the heart is made better” (Ecclesiastes 7:3). I hate it when God makes this kind of principle so clear! I hate the truth of this verse, but I know it is absolutely true! I have experienced this so vividly in my life and seen it demonstrated in the lives of our children. As life goes, there seem to be far more “unfair” situations than “fair.” We have had to live through some very difficult challenges, as I am sure each one reading this has as well.
I can honestly say that I have learned far more in the challenging times of my life than I ever learned in the successful times of life. Solomon was right, “… by the sadness of the countenance the heart is made better.” Why would God put this verse in our Bible? Why would I choose to write about this thought today? I believe the answer to these two questions is the same. Truth needs to be exalted, and false teaching needs to be exposed.
There are many today that will tell you that if you are facing challenge in your Christian life, you simply do not have enough faith, or you have sin in your life. I seem to remember Job’s friends telling him much the same thing. I also remember the Apostle Paul being ship-wrecked, bitten by a viper, and thrown into prison until he was be-headed. I believe that some of the most profitable books in our Bible were written by men who understood the value of the challenge in their walk with God. What about you and me today? Do we spend more time complaining about our challenges, or praising God for the lessons we will learn in them? Do we spend more time asking for an escape route out of our problems, or looking for the lessons we need to learn along the rough roads we travel down? I am sure that God makes no mistakes. I am also sure that everything in the life of a believer works together for his good and God’s glory. Let’s stop complaining and thank God for the challenges!