Last night I dreamt that it was a dreary, overcast day and I was still in school. A whole new slew of students were coming in on the first day, and I was still there, had never left, trapped indefinitely in the cycle, year after year, never reaching graduation. I didn’t like school when I was a kid, and I really hated the rainy days.
Life is a lot like school, and sometimes in a prolonged trial, it can start to feel a little like that dream.
Though I didn’t like school as a kid, I discovered a deep love of learning once outside the confines of school and consider myself to be a lifelong learner in the “school of life”.
Everything we go through is for a purpose and is meant to teach us something. I’d like to master the advanced stuff, like compassion and grace and faith, dare I even hope for patience? I don’t want to wish the time away, as we often do when we are in the tough courses. Of late the Lord seems to have “promoted” me to an advanced level on the subject of “enduring affliction”. I am probably not as appreciative of the honor as I ought to be. I feel like I have had several lower level classes on the subject already and had hoped I’d met the required quota, but I have a Divine Guidance Counsellor who has His own plan for my education. Yes, I am weary, as anyone would be. But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings as eagles. They shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.
No matter where we are in life, there are always going to be difficulties both behind and before us, if not currently present. “If we are going to live as disciples of Jesus, we have to remember that all noble things are difficult. The Christian life is gloriously difficult, but the difficulty of it does not make us faint and cave in, it rouses us up to overcome.” (Oswald Chambers).
When I am faced with difficulty, I am supposed to “let not my heart be troubled”. It requires intentional effort on my part. I must: Pray, be thankful, and ask Him what He has to teach me in it. I must guide my heart and turn my thoughts to my blessings and deliberately remember that truth, virtue, and goodness exist, are embodied in my Savior. I must recall that there is justice and mercy, and that “there remaineth a rest”, and I must recall to mind the many ways in which the Lord has come to the aid of His children, has provided and has restored. I can remain peaceful by asking Him to renew my strength, my faith, and a right spirit within me, and to show me how to abide in peace rather than reckon upon the rainy days and disasters and failures and evil, because really, they are irrelevant in God’s economy, other than their usefulness in my refinement. The difficulties He takes me through are not for me ultimately, but for making me useful in His hand. There is always a purpose in life’s clouds.
“In the Bible clouds are always connected with God. Clouds are the sorrows or sufferings or provinces within or without our personal lives which seem to dispute the rule of God. It is by those very clouds that the Spirit of God is teaching us how to walk by faith. If there were no clouds, we should have no faith. The clouds are but the dust of the Father’s feet, a sign that He is there. What a revelation it is to know that sorrow and bereavement and suffering are the clouds that come along with God! God cannot come near without clouds.”(Chambers)
Behold, He cometh with clouds (Rev. 1:7)