So…Let’s begin at a logical starting point.. Earth!
Why are we here on this planet? Seriously, through all that you’ve been taught, pondered, and studied, why are we on this spinning rock? Packaged in a mortal body, we are here living a brief period of time on planet earth. For many, we believe it’s the next step in God’s plan, to advance from a spiritual state to obtaining a body. Sounds right.
But, is your life smoothly flowing from start to finish in an expected manner of joy, comfort and bliss? Even for those who always make good choices, and do not have to endure the consequence of sin, is your life… “Spectacular”? I hope you can answer in a positive fashion. I would imagine that most would respond.. “NO”.
There are certain times… for all of us… when life borders on “awful”. Why such grief? Why is life so difficult? What is the logic of being expected to meet the challenges of life, as if we were in some way preparing to compete in some “What I learned in Life” Olympics? Well, I have a thought that I’d like you to consider.
At the age of 50… something, I am convinced that one of the most important purposes of this life is to participate in one of God’s greatest learning institutes… This Mortal Life! Through our birth, we have enrolled in “Mortal State University”, M.S.U.. Earth, an institute of learning, growth, and development. Faith, Forgiveness, Patience, Unconditional Love, Trust, Serving Others, Empathy, Compassion, Endurance, Suffering are just some of the courses that this university is currently enrolling its students in.
We look around and see others who are in the advanced level of their curriculum, while most are just learning in their 101 series level of understanding. This one topic, well understood, will help you navigate through life more than any other that I could offer. “Learning: A Purpose of Life”.
Our learning is all too often associated with TRIALS. It’s easy to have faith on a sunny day, but when we are battling the rough seas of life, faith can become distant and fleeting.
The very difficult issue that you are dealing with right now… That’s what I am talking about. Cancer, death, wayward kids, addiction, loss of job, loneliness, financial stress are just a few hardships that have shown up at our door… unwanted… or should it be?
Stick with me on this one… In my lifetime, my greatest growth has been after a horrific event in my life. Losing a child comes to mind as an undesired event that none of us would want to experience. It happened! The struggle was difficult, demanding, uncomfortable, and at times… impossible. But, I can proudly display a certificate of advancement upon my soul in compassion, learning of God, empathy, and love as a result of the experience. I will take those newly learned characteristic developments with me throughout eternity. I am a different, stronger, better person because of that trial. I am advancing.
So, if we now understand that a great purpose of life is to learn through experiences, when a trial shows up, it is an expected part of why we are here. We can now define them as M.S.U. courses that we have just enrolled in… and not get trapped in the, “Pray to have God Take This Away” program that we all keep trying.
Let me explain it this way..
Suppose that you are the proud parent of a child who is adventuring into kindergarten. He’s excited to go… to be like… grownup. After a week of class, he requests to meet with you to discuss his new-found stress in life. He tells you that this kindergarten thing is HARD! it’s been difficult to get up early, to ride a bus with strangers, and to learn new things. He misses playtime, and wants to have you remove him from school. Because of your enduring love for him, you wrap your arms around him, holding him tight and say, “Oh son, if it’s that difficult, I will remove this burden from your life”. You remove him from school. DO any of you even think that this would be a viable solution to your child’s problem? Ridiculous… right?
Deep Breath now…. Isn’t that the exact scenario that we play out with our Heavenly Father when OUR life is difficult? “Please God, cure my cancer,” “Make this hard trial go away!” “Just answer my prayer this way.” It’s uncomfortable, so please make it go away. When He doesn’t answer in our desired fashion, we feel denied, forgotten, or somehow betrayed. Where is my God? Why doesn’t he hear and answer my prayer?
Just as loving parents would not grant the wish of a child wanting to be removed from Kindergarten class, our Father in Heaven is not always going to unfairly remove hardships from our path that are instrumental in our growth and development… the very purpose in which he has placed us here. Removing a child from the educational system would harm them in the very essence of successfully providing for their family later in life. Love for your child certainly does not mean to always give them what they want.
Time for a perception shift… Are you with me? Let us rename them what they truly are…”Unwanted Trial” to “Upcoming Enrollment in Desired Growth Through Learning”.
God will be there with you during HARD times, just as you would be as a supportive parent with your child in school… assisting, guiding, helping, comforting, assuring, and in most cases, “Yoking Up” with you to pull the majority of the burden.
A continued hope, or false faith that God will immediately remove trials in our life is a guaranteed ticket to board the train of depression and loss of hope. Have faith, NOT IN YOUR DICTATED SOLUTION that you offer to God as the way to solve your problem. Rather, faith in the purpose of this mortal life which includes growth through difficult learning.
Pray for His support, strength, guidance and the ability to endure. He will ALWAYS be there for you in that role… Always!!!!! Have faith in HIM. He is creating a stronger YOU, someone in time that will become more like HIM. Let Him steer the bike, and you focus on peddling for a change.
Rethink this…. placing trials where they belong… This will help you make sense of our journey here on the rock. It will give you less of a sense of being “picked on”, or so unfortunate that our lives are plagued with hard times. Let us focus on being bright students, devoted to the learning process. Be proud of what you have learned, and who you are becoming. “God loves us just as we are… but… too much to leave us that way!”
Keep your face towards the sunshine…