Ever hear this? “Some people just have to learn things the hard way!”
I have a friend who lived a life of rebellion and excess! Early in his life he was introduced to alcohol and before long it dominated his life… he became an alcoholic! When you combined the rebellion, the excess, and the alcohol the mixture was toxic and probably would have been deadly. People tried to talk to him, they warned him, and godly family members and friends prayed fervently for him. One night during his rebellious living and doing what he called “pleasure” mixed with alcohol he had a terrible car accident and could have been killed! His life, however, was miraculously spared. The painful results though, were irreparable damage to his back and constant pain. But as a result he came to his senses, repented of his sinful and rebellious lifestyle, committed his life to Christ and abandoned alcohol!
Listen… I believe in God’s power to miraculously heal! I’ve seen God do it over and over again. But pray as we might, healing did not come to my friend. One day this is what he told me, “Every time I feel the stab of pain in my back it reminds me that God spared my life and I owe everything to Him! It reminds me of a very painful lesson I learned: “the way of the transgressor is hard!’” (Proverbs 13:15)
Now I don’t know what your spiritual journey has been like… what you may have had to “learn the hard way.” I know mine… and believe me, there are a few lessons I’ve had to learn that way – the painful way! I’m grateful for God’s mercy! I’m grateful for even the lessons I’ve learned from the discipline of my Heavenly Father and the times “consequences” have taught me important life-lessons!
Here’s how several verses I read from Psalm 119 this morning during my time of “coffee with the Lord” put it…
“You have dealt well with your servant, O Lord, according to your word. Teach me good judgment and knowledge, for I believe in your commandments. Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I keep your word. You are good and do good; teach me your statutes! … It is good for me that I was afflicted, that I might learn your statutes… I know, O Lord, that your rules are righteous, and that in faithfulness you have afflicted me. Let your steadfast love comfort me according to your promise to your servant!” (from Psalm 119:65, 67-68, 71, 75-76)
I believe that! Thank you Lord for being a wonderful Heavenly Father in every way… Thank you for the lessons I’ve learned the easy way… AND the hard way! (Let me tell you though, I’d prefer to learn them “the easy way!”)