What's in Your Heart
“Strengthen your drooping hands and your weak knees.” Whatever suffering you may encounter, God calls you not merely to stop there. Are difficulties a symptom of something wrong in your priorities? Are they God’s way of telling you something? To what changes and solutions do problems point? God does not want you only to endure but to pick yourself up, learn from the experience, keep going, and “make straight paths for your feet.”
Where is the “narrow gate”? Do you seek the easy path in your faith, or look for the more demanding—and more rewarding—ways to salvation?
A guy in my men's group greets any new challenge in his life by asking, "Where's the lesson to be learned here?" He'll say this when things go poorly at work, when he struggles with members of his family, or even when something tragic will happen. I admire his courage and resilience. There are times when I just don't want any more of life's "lessons." But they continue to come. The question is what will we make of them?
Saint Paul echo's my friend's message when he says, "Endure your trials as discipline." Discipline is empty if we don't learn the lesson. If you don't get chosen for a promotion, the lesson might be that other parts of your life can provide the riches you are seeking. If someone slanders you, the lesson may be that it's more important to be convinced inside that you are worthy than to rely on the opinions of others.
I once messed up on a project at work because I had become a one-man-band, asking for no help and accepting none that was offered. Even when I saw things falling apart, I simply held the reins tighter and stayed to myself. When my failure became apparent I felt horrible. I could continue on my self-destructive path or do what was hard for me: ask my colleagues for help. My failure turned into a great blessing.
So when life's trials, difficulties, and disappointments come your way, ask yourself, "Where's the lesson?"
True freedom is impossible without a mind made free by discipline.
—Mortimer J. Adler
It was for this world that Christ had died: the more evil you saw and heard about you, the greater the glory lay around the death.
—Graham Greene, The Power and the Glory