Lessons Learned the Hard Way.
“How I hated discipline! If only I had not demanded my own way!” – Proverbs 5:12 NLT
They say hindsight is 20-20. There is something powerful about the ability to look back at our mistakes and learn from them. Those lessons can be extremely clear in retrospect. As we look back on decisions we have made and see the trail of consequences, we tend to learn valuable lessons. We see our mistakes with greater clarity than we did living them out in real time. In the heat of the moment, we thought our decisions made sense. They felt right at the moment we made them. Our plan sounded so good. We just knew that everything was going to turn out well. Then given enough time, distance and pain, we discover the reality of blunder. “How I hated discipline! If only I had not demanded my own way!” It’s in looking back that we see just how stubborn we had been. We refused to do things God’s way, and instead determined that our way was better. We demanded to follow our own counsel and rejected God’s. And the results were less than perfect.
So Solomon warns his son, and us, to learn from his mistakes. He begs us to listen to his counsel and not go through the same painful lessons. Yet those of us who have kids know that our children have this unique ability to refuse our advice. What we say seems to go in one ear and out the other. They roll their eyes and shake their heads, patiently putting up with our sage wisdom, but rejecting it in the end as antiquated, illogical, and out-of-touch with reality. They determine that they know better. They don’t need our advice. And so they refuse to listen to our counsel, making their own decisions, living life on their own terms. And they learn the hard way.
As I read these Proverbs again, I can’t help but hear the voice of God calling to me, begging me to listen to Him, to heed His counsel. He wants me to seek His wisdom and to pursue His understanding like a priceless treasure. But I refuse to listen. Like a stubborn teenager, I convince myself that I know best. My way is better than God’s. And it is only in hindsight that I learn the folly of my ways. God patiently and lovingly allows me to reject His will for my own. He lets me learn from my mistakes. And as I grow older, the lessons finally begin to sink in. I start to learn that obedience is a lot less painful. Doing it His way really does work better. Learning doesn’t have to hurt! God’s way is the best way. I can trust Him on that.
Father, thank You for all the times You have patiently allowed me to do things my way. You have let me make my decisions and reap the results. But You have always been there to pick me up and set me back on my feet. You have never walked away from me in disgust, but have continue to patiently love me and instruct me, waiting for me to wake up and realize that Your way really is the best way. May I grow increasingly more aware of the truth of that reality. Amen
Grow Pastor & Minister to Men