Why does God train us so hard? God teaches us through difficulties and adversities. “The way you take care of your people is to train them hard.” Jocko Willink, retired United States Navy Seal, (podcast 3.) I guess some time in the past the United States military must have learned that from the Chief Commander; the Creator of the Universe. God wants us to be “combat ready” and good soldiers in His army, so He trains us hard.
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We go through trials and hardships and adversities. We get sick. We hurt. We hurt when others we love hurt. My third pregnancy resulted in a miscarriage. Oh, how I cried. I was so sad. I cried every day for a month because I had snuggled my other two newborns and knew what I was missing! I was not angry–but I was very sad.
God teaches us through difficulties. God trains hard.
When my dad had to have emergency open heart surgery, it was not a question of IF I would go one thousand miles to see him. It was a question of HOW and WHEN. My brother said that he could go right away, so I was going when my dad got home from the hospital. My dad came through the surgery well, and he and my brother had a good visit. I was getting things ready to leave my children with my husband for a week. I made food ahead of time and was caught up on the laundry and the bills were paid. Home school lessons for the third grader and first grader were not a problem, as we used BJU Press Homeschool. The lessons were easy for my husband to manage because they are well-organized with good instructions. (To read more about my homeschooling experience click here.)
I did not like to fly in a plane but I was highly motivated so off I went. The first leg of my journey was on a small plane and I said, out loud to no one in particular, “If they ask me if anyone has extra batteries for this thing, I am sooo outta here!”
My visit with my dad and mom went well. Of course, he was weak and could only be up for a minute or two at a time walking, but we did as ordered and walked. It wasn’t until I got home again that the reports changed in tone: his blood pressure is not well-regulated and there might be blood clots. Then he’s back in the hospital.
No one knew that he would have an allergic reaction to the blood thinner. My mom called me to say he had less than 24 hours to live. I called the airport and we were on our way there within the hour. It was cold that morning and I forgot shoes for the one year old. She didn’t mind but everyone kept asking me about her shoes and I would just tear up and start crying and say, “She’s fine.” We had a layover somewhere and I called my mom to see how things were going and my dad had already passed into eternity.
God teaches us through difficulties. God trains us hard.
A friend of my daughter’s had a 24 year old sister that had an aggressive form of breast cancer. That is hard training, too. First surgery, next radiation and chemo and then more treatment. Still the cancer progressed. Finally the family insurance approved a new drug to try, but before all that could be in place she died. I cried for her and her family, although I did not know them personally.
God teaches us through adversities. God trains us hard.
My daughter was pregnant with our first grandchild. Her water broke 2 weeks early, she was sent to the hospital and delivered safely: however, both of them ended up in the hospital with infections. During that time, a wonderful young Christian couple and friends of theirs was also due with their first baby. Their baby was born during that same time period: born and then died.
God teaches us through difficulties. God trains us hard.
My husband was diagnosed with Meniere’s disease at college. Mayo clinic staff describe Meniere’s as “a disorder of the inner ear that causes episodes in which you feel as if you’re spinning (vertigo), and you have fluctuating hearing loss with a progressive, ultimately permanent loss of hearing, ringing in the ear (tinnitus), and sometimes a feeling of fullness or pressure in your ear. In most cases, Meniere’s disease affects only one ear.”
In my husband’s adversity, each bout of vertigo took some of his hearing. The doctor put in an endolyphmphatic shunt in his left ear to stabilize the fluid pressure in his inner ear. Over the years he still had bouts of vertigo, lasting sometimes as long as 2 hours, but we hoped they were better than he would have been without the shunt. His left side hearing continued to diminish until he had only 30% recognition, in a sound booth.
In the real world hearing environment, he had almost no recognition of speech via his left ear. We all made adjustments: I would walk on his right side, we all enunciated clearly and made sure we had his attention before speaking to him. In 2005, the Meniere’s went to his right ear. Over the course of 12 months, the disease eroded his right side hearing completely.
God trains us hard.
Routine lab work results can lead to more tests. More tests lead to a diagnosis for my husband: prostate cancer. More surgery and more changes.
God trains us hard.
But what do these adversities teach us? In these cases, we value the time we do have with loved ones, the communication we have with them, the health and strength that we do have, the persistence to keep going and doing and working for the Lord, and using our time wisely.
God teaches us through adversities. We learn to redeem the time.
God trains hard but the lessons also allow us to encourage others who may be in the midst of trial. I realize that no two trials are exactly the same–but God provides the shared sad experiences of one person to help comfort others who are so in the midst of trial that they cannot see the light of deliverance or help or blessing. It reminds me of End of the Spear by Steve Saint, when the grieving dad says to his dear friend, “. . . ask Him (God) to give us the courage to accept it until we see why He wanted it this way.” (p.318)
Wait! There are blessings in these hard trainings???!
Yes, there are.
I had another child: I could not have had both babies (the miscarriage at the end of May and the birth of my son in March). He has been a good son and a blessing to our family and to others as a police officer. Also, I have been able to comfort others who have been through the miscarriage experience.
My dad left a legacy in my sibling and I, and his 8 grandchildren who were brought up in the Lord. I still quote him to my children and tell stories that begin, “My dad used to say. . . ” A daughter in one family is gone but the family is still serving the Lord. A baby died but the dear mom and dad still give God praise for the little life that was theirs for a short time. Through technology, my husband has electronic hearing. He still can teach at our church. Through one surgery or another, God has still given him the strength to work physically and to impact people for Christ.
God is good. All the time.
If you are facing adversities, pray that God will help you to keep going and serving Him. When we follow God’s path, it leads to His heaven and His blessings along the way. Won’t you follow Him?
Need some encouragement as you wait on the Lord for the next step? Read “Waiting Is Not Wasted.”
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