Monday, May 23, 2011

Reaping the Benefits

     The other day I was discussing the task of teaching the kids to read with my sister-in-law.  I was pondering the difference between my two children.  My daughter, the guinea pig, was not an eager student and never has been, but she always seemed to have quite a bit of patience.  She didn’t care if she ever learned to read a story on her own.  I can remember rejoicing and wanting to get up and shout to the Lord when she came to me one night after bedtime and wanted to share a book that she had been reading with me.  Even though it was past her bedtime I let her read me the whole book.  I was elated that she CHOSE to read on her own.
     My son, James, who is 3 ½ years younger has always wanted to read a book.  Not just any book, though, a REAL book.  Not a book with silly pictures all over it, but a novel with lots and lots of words.  He is eight years old and this school year we went to the Civil War Museum close to our home.  While browsing the gift shop, he said he wanted a book.  I was glad to buy him a book so I told him to pick one out.  Trying to help, I kept picking up books that I thought were age-appropriate (the kind with pictures) and he would insist that he did not want them.  When he finally picked the perfect book, he came and handed it to me.  I looked down and read, “The Red Badge of Courage” on the cover.   I started to try to talk some sense into him, but then I decided I knew him and it was no use.   So I bought the book.  He still hasn’t read it, but he will.
     So something Susan said got me thinking the other day when we  were talking and I was telling her that James wanted to read, but didn’t want to learn “how to read”, he just wanted to be able to do it.  In the beginning he could never understand what all of the phonics and workbooks were about and why he had to waste his time with all of that.  He inherited his Mom’s patience (none) and wanted to get the reward without the pain.  She said that sounded like a good life-lesson analogy.  Boy, did it! 
     How many times have I just wished I could get through a trial and not have to suffer anymore?  Or how many times have I tried to rush right through a trial to avoid the pain, only to realize that God can’t be rushed and the lesson will be learned when I’m ready and not a minute before.  The bible tells us this in James 1:2-5, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters,
whenever you face trials of many kinds,  because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.  Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.  If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.”  This means that I have to stop and look at each trial as part of the reward.  I physically can’t reap the benefits of the reward if I don’t go through the trial.  What is the reward after all?  It is wisdom, and how can I possibly gain the wisdom and knowledge if I don’t have the experience? 
     Sometimes the trial can be physical work or mental labor.  Other times it might be grief or relational hardships.  A great many of my trials have been the anguish of letting go of some sin in my life that has become comfortable to me or a bad habit.  Maybe it’s dealing with a difficult person in our lives and learning to do it in a more Christ-like manner than a previous time.  Whatever our trials are, we have them for a reason and the reason is to benefit us.  We have to remember that so that we can look at all of life with joy; not just the good times.


DonnaGeorgi said...

Wow you sure can write. I am going to try and remember to keep coming back as it is very insightful and will help me. Thank you for sharing.
Donna Georgi