When someone says, “Let that be a lesson to you,” it usually means something bad has happened. I don’t think anyone has ever said that to me after they’ve handed me an ice cream cone. But lessons aren’t all bad. In fact, they can be quite helpful.
We had two high school seniors in our family during this pandemic year. They faced disappointments as they missed opportunities so many of us have enjoyed during our senior year of high school. Yet, our sons handled it with grace. I don’t think I ever heard them complain about missing out.
This year we’ve been reminded how unpredictable life can be. We may act as if we know it, but we don’t feel it until it hits home. I know people who never thought this would be the last spring with a person they love. I know people who never thought their family member would be isolated in a hospital during some of their most difficult days.
How do you prepare for that? Clichés and catch phrases give us something to say, but they rarely prepare the heart and mind for shock and surprise.
Perseverance is another word I’ve learned about in 2020. Our two graduates were making plans this time last year. They’ve had to work even harder to see those plans through. Lord willing, one will leave for the Air Force next week and the other will start college a few weeks after that. They’ve faced all sorts of challenges and their perseverance has been encouraging.
I don’t think perseverance simply springs up in the midst of difficulty. The roots of perseverance must grow in deep in a person. Preparing to persevere is the way we prepare to face the unpredictable.
How do we prepare to persevere? Sharing the lessons of life helps others think through what might happen to them. It prepares for them for sacrifice, determination and flexibility. Our boys have heard stories from family members, friends, pastors, Sunday School teachers and schoolteachers over the years. They have learned about God’s faithfulness, the importance of character, patience and commitment.
Let us not forget about the adversity of life. May we draw from the lessons of difficulty to prepare for the moments of perseverance.
BRANDON PORTER is communications director of the Kentucky Baptist Convention and editor of Kentucky Today.