Life’s Tuition

Just as soon as we say anything about people we are wrong.  As good as our observations have been, as careful as we have been about not exaggerating nor understating, there are exceptions to what we have said.  One of the courses I teach is child development.  I have to begin the first class of the course each semester by explaining that I will be speaking in generalities and statistical norms, because there are most always individuals outside two standard deviations on either side of the mean.

Having prefaced that I now state that the people with the finest characters I have known are those who have had major periods of suffering in their lives.  It almost seems like stress and suffering are the tuition we pay for life’s education.  At this point you might be thinking that you know a wonderful person who has had one of those almost perfect lives.  If so, that is the exception I was speaking about.

Stress and suffering not only help us appreciate those days when we do not suffer they also better enable us to empathize with others.  I have often wondered if those who have not suffered can only sympathize.  Think of the great heroes in Scripture.  The Bible is one tale of suffering after another.  Joseph being sold by his brothers, Moses in exile and then having to put up with the children of Israel, David’s betrayal by Saul and Job’s horror, are but a few.  Hebrews 11 is a list of suffering saints. We could speak of Jesus’ suffering but His character was always pure.

God’s goal for us is not that we should live a continuous life of ease but that we should become all that we can be and that often requires tuition.

Written by Roger Bothwell on May 7, 2015

Spring of Life, PO Box 124, St. Helena, CA 94574