Home Menu

Still Learning

I think you ought to know, dear brothers, about the hard time

we went through in Asia. We were really crushed and

overwhelmed and feared we would never live through it.

We felt we were doomed to die and saw how

powerless we were to help ourselves;

but that was good,

for then we put everything into

the hands of God, who alone can save us . .

II Corinthians 1:8-9 TLB

New skates for Christmas! Just what you wanted! Turkey dinner is (sigh) finally over and the “big folks” are just talking, so you excuse yourself, grab your skates and head for the sidewalk out front. Remember? I don’t mean remember how much fun you had gliding along the sidewalks–waltzing–racing–going backwards–all kinds of daring feats. No, that’s later. Remember the skinned elbows, the lacerated knees, the broken tooth? But you learned, didn’t you–and then came the thrill of performing those daring feats!

It’s not just learning to do it right, is it? It’s also learning what NOT to do. I remember the afternoon I was out in the front yard playing. Mother and Dad had built a brick retaining wall about five bricks high just at the edge of the sidewalk then filled and leveled and sodded the new dirt. Mother cautioned me, “Anabel, don’t play on the bricks. You’ll really get scratched up if you fall.” Then she disappeared behind the front door and I, very obediently, began trying to walk the brick wall. I fell and there were these long, bloody gashes from my left knee down to mid-calf. I still remember how it hurt. I went in the house-crying-and told Mother I had fallen on my bike. She knew, of course. The wound was obviously made with the bricks. But I learned, didn’t I? Sidewalks were made for walking, brick retaining walls weren’t in that category. (I still have those scars on my left leg.)

Those things and hundreds like them come into our lives to be used as learning experiences. I think we would all accept that such events are expected. But here on Planet Earth we’re not just learning the “dos and don’ts” of how to face life physically; we’re learning to face life spiritually, and when we fail or fall or rebel, we’re supposed to learn from it. We’re supposed to accept the tumbles as teaching tools.

Think about Joseph and all the ugly things that happened to him. But, he took them all in stride, learning all the while and eventually became the most brilliant man in Egypt. How did he get there? How would you have trained Joseph to serve as Pharaoh’s most trusted advisor? God taught him through rejection from his brothers, slavery in Egypt, being thrown into prison under false allegations, being tempted, lied about, living for years separated from his family, on and on-but he learned and those lessons enabled him to fill the position that God had planned for him.

So, why am I still kicking at the goads? Why am I still complaining, “Why me, Lord?” Why am I still comparing my life with the ones who don’t get enrolled in the ‘school of hard knocks’, the ones who slide by, never advancing, just relaxing in the hammock under the shade tree? Is that what I want? NO WAY! I want to learn, Lord. I want to face the storms of my life head-on! I want to be a ‘green beret’ on the front lines-and you don’t get there without going through severe training-without skinned elbows and knees, minus a tooth or carrying your arm in a sling for weeks-but then comes the thrill of gliding and feeling the wind in your face as you race along the avenue.

Okay, I see Lord and I want to be trained. I’ll consider the adversities that come as merely tools of the trade, knowing that You have things planned for me that I have never dreamed of or even imagined! And Lord, I know full well that I am powerless-only You living through me can give me the ability to “perform those daring feats.” And you know what, Lord? There will be some people watching me and they will be amazed and say, ‘How in the world can you do that, Anabel?’ And I’ll say, “Oh, it’s not me! Christ is the only one who can such things.” Thank You, Lord.

About the Author

Anabel spent decades teaching in many contexts through Lifetime Guarantee Ministries. She has taught countless others how to have a genuine intimate faith and a sound marriage. She shared from her heart about living from the heart. Lifetime’s beloved founder and mentor passed away November 7, 2010. Her legacy and influence are timeless and priceless.