Tuesday, January 8, 2013

The Side Effects of Suffering-Teachable Spirits by Martin Wiles

Series: The Side Effects of Suffering

Having once been a student, I can relate to those who share the same disdain toward learning I once did. “How is this going to help me?” “Why do I need to know this?” “Are we going to do something fun today…” as if traditional learning isn’t.

Prior to college, I despised school. Elementary, middle, high…I hated them all. Didn’t like any teachers and saw nothing beneficial in learning history, math, English or science. I studied just enough to get by and learned very little in the process. Homework was a bore and just the teacher’s way of inflicting further punishment.

Maturity settled in by the time I entered college. I was eager to learn everything I’d missed out on because of my laziness and unconcern. Although I couldn’t recapture all I had neglected, I absorbed all I possibly could. Like the psalmist, I now had a teachable spirit. Teach me your decrees, O LORD; I will keep them to the end (Psalm 119:33 NLT).

Many students equate the learning process with suffering-and some teachers make it easy to do. But knowledge is imparted through the process. It can also be absorbed through physical and emotional struggles when we respond appropriately. When things are cadillacing smoothly, I tend to think, “God, I’ve got this. No help required.” Yet when illness, tragedy or other various setbacks arrive and lay me on my back, I quickly change my mind. “God, need a little help here.”

Fortunately, God overlooks my stubbornness and selfishness and comes to my rescue…although not always in the way I had hoped. If we’ll allow him, God will create teachable spirits in us through episodes of suffering. Instead of responding with anger, bitterness, rage, disappointment, and discouragement when suffering knocks, let God teach you life-changing lessons.

Prayer: Almighty God who never leaves or forsakes us even in our most trying times, teach us life-changing lessons through our sufferings even when we want to run and hide.