Thursday, November 18, 2010

Experience: The Brutal Teacher

"Experience: that most brutal of teachers. But you learn, my God do you learn."  This is a quote by C.S. Lewis.  I love it.  I don't like living it at times, but it is so true.

What has my experience taught me this year?
1.  I have learned the value of family and friends.  You cannot survive without them.  In Genesis, God said that He didn't want man to be alone.  I have learned that the worst thing I can possibly do is isolate myself from the people whom I love and who love me.

2.  You can have a thousand friends who surround you day and night; however, you still cannot survive without God.  He is my Ultimate Friend.  Here is another quote from C.S. Lewis:  "God cannot give us a happiness and peace apart from Himself, because it is not there. There is no such thing."  How does God give happiness and peace?  I give myself to Him, constantly.  I offer up prayers asking for Him to fill my sadness.  I ask Him to be my Comforter.  I ask Him to give me peace.  I read the Psalms.

3.  If I don't run to God, there is an enemy out there waiting and more than happy to take His place in my life.  However, he doesn't give happiness and peace.  He gives despair.  Here is what I have learned from experience.  When I get tired and overwhelmed in body and spirit, he is ready to step in and do his best work.  What do I do when those things happen?  First of all, on a practical level, I try to get some rest.  It is amazing what a good night's sleep will do for you.  Then I revert to number 1 and number 2.  Before long, I am feeling alive and restored again.

Beth Moore talks about learning from God in two ways.  The first way is like sitting in a classroom.  We listen to the teacher, and we learn when we study what she says.  In the spiritual realm, that would be like reading your Bible, attending worship, taking part in Bible studies and prayer.  She says that the second way that we learn in school is by leaving the classroom and going on a field trip.  We go see the subject we are studying for ourselves.  I remember going with Lily in the sixth grade to the American Village in Montevallo.  I learned more that day about the American Revolution than I did in years of a classroom because on that day I experienced.  This is the second way we learn from God.  We take a field trip, we experience it, and we grow from it.

I have been on one heck of a field trip this year.  While it was not a fun one, there is no doubt that I have learned.  There are things that I have said that I believed all my life.  "God will never leave me.  God will never forsake me.  Take your troubles to God, and He will see you through anything."  I believed those things with all my heart.  But this year I took a field trip.  I experienced it on an up close and personal level, and these truths are deeply ingrained into who I am.

No one took a field trip like Job did.  After losing everything, he simply said, "Naked I came from my mother’s womb,and naked I will depart. The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away;
may the name of the LORD be praised.”

Take the time now to learn what you can from God, so that when the field trips do come, you will be ready to go!

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