“I don’t ever want to go back to school. I can’t go back there!”
How many of us have heard our children make the same complaint? How many of us have felt the same way?
This particular child was not fearful of being picked last for dodge ball or failing a test. This little girl, Lena, was from a Baptist family living in the Soviet Union.
Daily she endured teasing and torment from her teacher, who used mocking words that seemed to be able to crack Lena’s bones.
“Stand up, Lena,” her teacher said one day. “Have you thought about when you will be in heaven? You will look down on us frying in hell. Will you put salt and pepper on us?”
When Lena came home from school in tears, her mother would offer her a hug and some cake and a listening ear. But she never allowed Lena to wallow in self-pity. After listening to Lena’s woes, trying to encourage her but still encountering stubborn resistance to going back to school, she asked her a question:
“Do you really think you can swim through life like a fish? Do you think you can dive down to the deep waters, where all is calm, and escape the storms on the surface?”
If I’m being honest, my answer to those questions is “yes!” That’s exactly what I’d like to do. If my life doesn’t turn out as well as I want it to, then I would prefer to avoid the trials and tribulations.
The problem is Jesus didn’t guarantee a problem-free life. Instead, He promised the opposite. And then we are told to give thanks in all circumstances. So what good are the difficulties in my life?
· Trials build character. They take me to the limits of my patience, my strength, and my trust in God, so that by them, my faith becomes mature.
· Trials build community. They force me to rely on others for help, encouragement and advice, and in the process my pride and independence have to diminish. In the process, I learn how to support others in their time of need.
· Trials build a witness. By showing non-believing friends and family what God can do in the life of someone who trusts in Him, they see a living testimony that cannot be denied.
The believers in the Soviet Union didn’t know how God would rescue them, any more than Moses did when he was standing with his back to the Red Sea watching Pharaoh’s army approach. All they knew is that God would be with them.
We can’t escape the times or circumstances we live in. We don’t know if life will get harder for believers or not. But instead of diving deep, we need to face the waves head on, trusting God to carry us through. There may be consequences, but the eternal rewards will be great.
Evelyn is the author of Beyond the Rapids. Her website is here: http://www.beyondtherapids.com/
Here is her biography from Goodreads: