Thursday 9 August 2012


Invaluable lessons from life’s university of hard knocks.

Mark Twain penned: “You can’t let school interfere with your education”.

Formal education prepares us to pass examinations but it often fails to engage us – we feel inadequate to face the real world.

Do schools and universities prepare us for the world out there? Are we ready to make a living and start a family? Can we hit the road running? Can we confidently face the curved balls life throws at us every now and then?

In contrast, the trials and suffering that we experience in life often teach us much more than schools. Bumps and bruises often teach us more than formal instructional packages in the classroom.  

We don't enjoy being disciplined. It always seems to cause more pain than joy. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it” (Hebrews12:11).

“Even though Jesus was God's Son, he learned obedience from the things He suffered” (Hebrews 5:8).

And we will never graduate from life’s university of hard knocks because there is so much to learn. Even the apostle Paul did not dare to claim that he has arrived:

“I don’t mean to say that I have already achieved these things or that I have already reached perfection. But I press on to possess that perfection for which Christ Jesus first possessed me. No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us” (Philippians 3:12-14).

“We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed. We are perplexed, but not driven to despair. We are hunted down, but never abandoned by God. We get knocked down, but we are not destroyed. Through suffering, our bodies continue to share in the death of Jesus so that the life of Jesus may also be seen in our bodies” (2 Corinthians 4:8-10).

That is why we never give up. Though our bodies are dying, our spirits are being renewed every day. For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever! So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever” (2 Corinthians 4:16-18).

Whenever we are tempted to throw in the towel amid trials, we can learn from this great apostle. Learn to see things from a different perspective. The trials will not last. What is important is the eternal reward.

Both Moses and Jesus kept their sights on that which is to come when they faced suffering:
Moses thought it was better to suffer for the sake of Christ than to own the treasures of Egypt, for he was looking ahead to his great reward (Hebrews 11:26).
Because of the joy awaiting him, Jesus endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now He is seated in the place of honour beside God's throne (Hebrews 12:2).

It’s all a matter of perspective. Has circumstances caused us to deviate from our upward gaze?

Related post:

What education does not teach us:

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