By: Ptr. Jebo Banzuelo
“A saint’s life is in the hands of God like a bow and arrow in the hands of an archer. God is aiming at something the saint cannot see, but our Lord continues to stretch and strain, and every once in a while the saint says, “I can’t take it anymore”. Yet God pays no attention; He goes on stretching until His purpose is in sight, and then He lets the arrow fly.” - Oswald Chambers
The beginning of a new school year reminds us of the value of formal education. Despite the heavy traffic and bills that come with it, we still pursue formal school training not just because it promises personal improvement but also because it can open doors of opportunity for those who take it seriously.
School is a microcosm of life. Formal education, like life, is a process of learning and unlearning. It gives us the necessary foundation for further growth and development. Come to think of it, the money you spend in education-related bills (tuition fees, books, uniforms, transportation and food allowances, etc.) from the moment you step in school may even surpass the amount you can earn in the first 20 years of employment. But we know that those who go through the process of formal training come out prepared and better-equipped to face the challenges of the careers they pursue.
Life is like a big classroom, there are lessons to be learned and misconceptions and bad habits to be unlearned. The ups and downs of life serve as lessons that mould us to maturity and prepare us to receive deeper truths and greater challenges. Unlike school, there is no syllabus, no class notes, no textbook. We don’t know how long the course would last or what tuition we would have to pay before it was over. We disagree with our teacher, sometimes angrily, sometimes disrespectfully. We complain about the course load and want to drop the class. But it is a required course, not an elective, and this was the only time it was being offered. Maturity does have a price and only those who are willing to pay the price benefit from the privileges of being “trained and educated”.
As parents are delighted to see their children become successful in their formal training God is also delighted to see His children grow into maturity. That’s why He never wastes a hurt. He controls life’s experiences so that they would shape us into persons that would give Him joy. Not giving us too much nor too little — just enough for our level.
As you go through His process of preparation, here are some pointers to help you get by with joy:
God is never caught by surprise by your experience — He has already been there. He is prepared to meet every need because He has gone before you and He knows exactly what you will need for your ordeal. (Deuteronomy 31:8)
God never sends you into a situation alone. He always precedes you in any situation you encounter. Not only does God go before you, but He also stands beside you and behind you, to provide protection and comfort. (Psalm 139:3, Isaiah 41:10)
If you are going to be used by God, He will take you through a number of experiences that are not meant for you personally at all. They are designed to make you useful in His hands, and to enable you to understand what takes place in the lives of others. (2 Corinthians 1:4)
When God delays, He is not inactive. This is when He prepares His instruments and matures our strength. Then at the appointed time we will rise up and be equal to our task. (Philippians 1:6)
It is through the most difficult times that God often brings the sweetest discoveries of Himself. (Lamentations 3:20-24)
“Give me the strength to hold on to that which now may seem most painful but in the end will turn out to be that which best serves my soul.” - Ken Gire