Life is an experience of one lesson after another. Some of these lessons come from the school of hardknocks. I know there have been times in my life when I felt like I was a student at the University of Adversity.
Even though I loathe the times that I have endured the trials and heartaches of life, I know such experiences have taught me valuable lessons. I made the comment this past Sunday, that success goes to the head, but trials bring us to our knees. It is when we are on our knees that we lean on God and learn from heartache.
Let me share a couple of quotes concerning adversity:
Zig Ziglar: We need adversity, difficulty, struggle, conflict, and resistance on our way to success to make us strong enough to take that success for with it comes issues the weak cannot withstand.
Helen Keller: Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, vision cleared, ambition inspired and success achieved. Silver is purified in fire and so are we. It is in the most trying times that our real character is shaped and revealed.
Abraham Lincoln: Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.
The prophet Jeremiah was experiencing a tremendous amount of persecution when God spoke to him: If you have raced against others on foot, and they have tired you out, how can you compete with horses? If you stumble in open country, how can you live in the jungle along the Jordan River? Even your relatives and members of your father’s household betray you. They have also formed a mob to find you. Don’t trust them when they say good things about you (Jeremiah 12:5-6).
The lesson in Jeremiah is that we should not worry about the struggles and trials of the future until we learn to manage the stress of the present. Don’t waste your energy worrying about a potential problem in the future; instead, focus your strength on the present reality.
If, however, your are compelled to focus on the future, do it within the framework of Romans 8:18: I consider our present sufferings insignificant compared to the glory that will soon be revealed to us.
I’ll wrap this up with one more quote that I hope will be enough to keep you thinking: Difficulties mastered are opportunities won –Winston Churchill