We really have easy lives, we take a lot of things for granted. Most of our lives are spent avoiding conflict or pain. We buy all these gadgets and things that make our lives easier and less conflict….ey, yes conflictey. I’m not saying they’re bad, but maybe they’re not something we should use all the time.
Think about a time where something changed your life, something altered your story and set you off down a different path. There will be some good things, but I bet a lot of negative things came up. When you ask someone about a time in their lives that changed them, they usually don’t say, “I bought this new car and it changed the way I look at life!” No, they usually tell you a story, they tell you about the time their dad had surgery or when someone close to them died or when the person they thought was the one broke up with them.
There’s a story about this family, two brothers to be exact. Each of them were married and one of brother’s wife was expecting. Late one night they scrambled to get to the ER and called the family into the hospital. The baby was born later that night; except it didn’t make it but only a couple hours. A year later the other brother and his wife rushed to the emergency room, and she gave birth as well, to a healthy baby. The family stood around the room cooing at the baby and smiling, yet all the while there was this nagging thought and a little talk of the events that had occurred about a year ago. Talk about the hospital and being there at night, and how this could possibly even be the same room.
Two brothers, two wives, two children. Two rooms. But two very different outcomes
We tend to define our lives by big moments that happen, all the while living in the hallways between the rooms.
Think of some of the best stories you know, for a guy it’s usually sports. Michael Jordan and Game 5 of the 1997 NBA Finals, aka The Flu Game. Jordan wakes up that morning with a virus, throwing up and sweating profusely. The trainers tell Jordan, there’s no way he can play. But the series is tied, the winner would be 1 win away from the NBA title. So what does he do? He plays, he looks terrible, no energy, and the Jazz build up a lead. Michael Jordan ends up playing 44 minutes while only resting for 4. He drops 38 points, with 3 steals, 5 assists, and 7 rebounds. The Bulls win Game 6 and the title. An amazing show of determination. I could go on, Lance Armstrong and his cancer, Curt Schilling and game 6 of the ALCS with his bloody sock.
Image Courtesy of SI.com
Conflict. Pain. Adversity. Whatever you wanna call it. We hate it. We do everything possible to avoid it. But it’s really the only way we learn and change. Look at some of the greatest Bible heroes.
Paul: Blindness, prison, prison, prison, bitten by a deadly snake, and oh ya…prison.
Moses: Charged with the murder of an egyptian and runs away, years later is called to go back to Egypt.
Joseph: Sold into slavery by his brothers, charged with attempted rape, put into prison.
And of course Job basically lost everything.
We’ve grown up believing that there’s a missing piece of our heart and we try to fill it with possessions, grades, accomplishments, drugs, relationships, and a host of other things. And we’re told that the thing that will make us feel better and make everything right is Jesus. That He will make it all better and we’ll be ok.
This is a lie.
We live in a broken world. One where bad things happen, to everyone. Jesus won’t make it all better right this very second. All these Bible figures I listed had some really bad things happen to them. Their lives weren’t easy, they were filled with pain and suffering. They made it through it with God’s help. He didn’t take it all away, in fact He let it happen to them. It made them stronger, they learned because of it.
We grow through pain and adversity and conflict. When we’re challenged we can rise to that challenge and learn from it and grow. We shouldn’t run from it, we should confront it. Stand up straight and face it, let it knock us down and then get back up. It’s by this that we grow.
If you ask the people who know me, my friends, they will say that I know everyone at school, or way too many people. This could possibly, maybe, sort of, be true. I know a ton of people at school and have a lot of friends.
But this wasn’t always the case for me.
After 7th grade, I was homeschooled for a year and then went to high school. I left a school that I had grown up in, there were the same 9 or 10 kids together from kindergarten till 7th grade and suddenly I’m thrust into a school where, I kinda know some of the people but really I just know who they are.
High school is tough for anyone, but it’s doubly tough when everyone in your class already has their cliques and has been together for years and you’re a really small, skinny guy with what some people would call a handicap. Those weren’t an easy four years, I got picked on a lot, left out, kinda treated like a second class person and I came out with really one or two friends. High school sucked, it hurt a lot. But it’s made me who I am today. It’s why I know so many people now, I know just what someone caring how your day has gone actually means.
Do I wish I could change it? Some of it yes, but not all of it. Without that pain I would not be the person I am today.
“Pain pays the income of every precious thing” – William Shakespeare
“Pain insists upon being attended to. God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our consciences, but shouts in our pains. It is his megaphone to rouse a deaf world.” - C.S. Lewis
“Behind every beautiful thing, there’s some kind of pain” - Bob Dylan
What kind of conflict have you experienced in life? How did you react to it? The comment box is there for discussion.