Today’s Readings: Psalm 62; Joel 3:1-2, 9-17; Matthew 19:1-12; 1 Peter 1:1-12
It would be nice if the most meaningful lessons from life came during easy times. Unfortunately, that’s not always the case. Sometimes the most important learnings we live into are those that happen during the tough times. I learned this during my sophomore and junior years of high school.
You see I had been born with a condition called club feet. That means that in my case both of my feet were bent virtually backwards. I had a series of corrective surgeries at the Shriner’s Hospital during my first year of life. The surgeries went well, and I was soon able to do the same things as the other kids. I loved sports and participated in football, wrestling, and tennis from the time that I was in the third grade on. In addition to the fun I had playing the sports, I also got to experience what it was like to be in the popular crowd.
Then, during my sophomore year of high school, the doctors told me I needed to undergo another series of corrective surgeries. These surgeries interrupted my participation in sports during my sophomore and junior years of high school. I went from being one of the insiders because of my identity as an athlete to being pushed out to the outer rings of some of the same social circles.
Through the experience I learned that popularity usually isn’t just about who you are as a person – your degree of popularity is also linked to your access to things like money, power, and social status. It was a tough – but helpful – lesson for me to learn at the ripe old age of 15. I was able to become a stronger, more empathetic person because of that difficult experience.
I was reminded of that experience as I read the author’s words from 1 Peter today when he wrote: “Pure gold put in the fire comes out of it proved pure; genuine faith put through this suffering comes out proved genuine” (1 Peter 1:6 from The Message). Perhaps you’ve had a similar experience – a time of difficulty when the content of both your character and faith was forged. If so, I would invite you to sit back and reflect on how that experience allowed you to come through it with a better understanding of yourself and your faith. Til next time…