A 'Learnable' Moment

Last week we addressed the current viral pandemic as a “teachable” moment. That is, in a time of crisis the Christian’s light should shine even brighter and demonstrate trust in God. Today we want to think about our present distress as a “learnable” moment.

It would be wise for any human being, but especially for God’s people, to approach life with the question, “What can I learn from this situation?” We have so much to learn about so many things and such a short lifetime to achieve it. And, more often than not, trial and hardship are better teachers than comfort and success.

The honest athlete admits that much more is learned from losing than winning. Those who had family that lived through the Great Depression saw the deep impression that poverty left upon them. And, we pray, what has been learned from previous pandemics have helped the world cope better this time around.

King David was prepared for the challenges of royal rule by two main influences, the first of which was his life as a shepherd. While tending his flocks, David was tasked with a heavy responsibility, exposed to the elements, and defended his helpless sheep against wild animals (I Sam. 17:34-37). Through these hardships he learned about leadership, his dependence on God and how to sling a stone with deadly accuracy. These embedded traits are clearly felt as one reads Psalm 23.

The second shaping influence was his extended time as a fugitive from his predecessor, King Saul. For several years during the decade of his twenties, David was conspired against, targeted for murder, estranged from his wife, concerned for his parents, chased from society, alternately loved and hated by his countrymen. Yet David came through it all and wrote such words as this:

“I will extol You, O Lord, for You have lifted me up, and have not let my foes rejoice over me. O Lord my God, I cried out to You, and You have healed me. O Lord, You have brought my soul up from the grave; You have kept me alive, that I should not go down to the pit. Sing praise to the Lord, you saints of His, and give thanks at the remembrance of His holy name. For His anger is but for a moment, His favor is for life; weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning” (Ps. 30:1-5).

There are many things to learn about ourselves – our values, motives, priorities – from this present disruption of our lives. Let us not lose the moment in complaint and contention but rather use it to be more circumspect in our outlook. Further, there are things to learn about God from this enforced pause. Let us ponder, pray and profit from the experience.