When adversity strikes, do you find yourself wondering why? Yeah, me too.
It’s natural to want to be free of our problems. We seek immediate answers in hopes of returning life to normal. If you’re like me, you might ask yourself, “What’s God trying to teach me in this?”
But is that what we’re really asking? Maybe what we’re really saying is, “If I can just figure out what God is trying to teach me, then I can learn it, and this problem will go away.”
Our first priority is escape, and so we secretly think: If I need to learn something to make that happen, then let me know what it is. Just get me out of here.
There’s two flawed assumptions when we think this way, however. The first is that everything that has happened to us is about us. In reality, everything is about God, not us, and there’s no hope in the world that we can live perfectly, nor that God expects us to. What He does expect is that we grow closer to Him in times of joy and of suffering.
While the nineteenth-century British prime minister, Benjamin Disraeli, rightly observed, “There is no education like adversity,” not every problem exists solely to instruct us. It’s a flawed assumption that our problems can be shortened by discerning “what God is trying to teach me.”
The second flawed assumption is that bad things always come with an instruction from God for us. If we had lived perfectly, nothing bad would have happened because God wouldn’t need to teach us anything.
There are other very real possibilities. Maybe instead of teaching us something, God is giving us an opportunity to live out our faith in front of our children. Maybe the adversity we face is an opportunity to deepen our trust in Him when the outcome is unknown. Or maybe it’s simply so that we can be an example to others that joy doesn’t need to be based on circumstances, but on Jesus.
When the next challenge comes your way and you find yourself asking what God might be teaching you, remember that not every trial is wrapped in a lesson for you and you can’t learn your way out of adversity. The only thing you can do is draw closer to God as you trust Him for your future.
Maybe that’s all God is ever trying to teach us.
Comment below: When you reflect on the challenges you’ve had in your life, how has that deepens your trust?