I just returned home from an engaging meeting at the Seminary. My husband and I were invited to speak to the students about our life/marriage/parenting in the ministry. Our time with them went well and brought back many fond memories of Burgessville as well as the challenges and difficulties that can sometime arise in the home of a pastor’s family. Following our discussion a lunch was served which gave opportunity for informal questions.
Driving home from the Seminary my thoughts went from the various conversations that had just taken place to a conversation I had with someone this week who was asking how one could prepare themself to help/counsel other people. What lessons could I share, what books have I read, and what advice could I give? How does one know what to say when someone comes for help especially when it’s an “unexpected” conversation? How could the young people be reached and talked to regarding the problems they face? As I reflected on our meeting and as this conversation came back to me, suddenly as if a light was turned on, I could somewhat see the bigger picture.
If you want to impact the lives of other people, I counseled this person, it is vitally important to read and study written material especially the Word of God. If our minds are saturated with the Word, the Lord often brings words from Scripture to our remembrance during counseling sessions which can prove to be an invaluable tool. Read and study the Word daily. Also, the Lord has given much wisdom to men to write books for our learning and knowledge and we would be foolish not to be very well read on many subjects in order to help others. I then tried to give other practical lessons that I had learned over the past 13 years.
While all this is true and important what came to my mind on the way home today was the importance of School 101. There is often a need to go to “school” ourselves in order to learn invaluable lessons which we can in turn use as instruments in impacting the lives of other people. This is one of the most invaluable means that God uses in our life so we can impact the lives of others. And what I further realized is that there are seasons when we are very useful in God’s kingdom but then there will also be seasons when we need to take a step back as we “go to school.” Often this school is called, “The school of Afflictions, Trials and Temptations.” It is here that we learn the deepest, most profound lessons. Lessons about who we are and who God is. Lessons which painfully root out some of our deepest sins so that we can be made humble. Lessons which teach us more about God’s character and His care for us. Lessons which teach us the importance of daily striving against the Devil and temptations. Lessons which test and strengthen our faith.
I think I can liken this school to our earthly school. Some classes are easy and fun and others are what we would call brutal. Because of their intensity, they cause us to work, sweat and often lose sleep. So it is spiritually…the easy lessons are the books we read and knowledge we gain from them. The hard courses are the ones we need to learn in the classes of affliction, trials, and temptations.
As I saw this big picture I wondered why we at times complain so much when we have to go back to school? If we could really grasp this way of thinking wouldn’t we be more willing to enter into this classroom as well, knowing that if we are faithful the Lord will lead us to a richer knowledge of Himself? Don’t we see that if our desire is to serve we will need to be conformed ourselves? Will we not be able to be used in a much greater way then in His kingdom? Let us encourage one another to not be fainthearted when we need to go back to the “classroom” but rather rejoice knowing that many before us have entered the same school in order to be trained for the service of furthering God’s Kingdom. Keep courage and enter these seasons in the classroom relying on Him.