July 14, 2016
When I first started my psychiatric practice, I struggled with one problem for quite a while … patients who didn’t show up for their appointments. My mind stressed over several potential issues that swirled through my head. Were the patients OK; did they commit suicide; were they in a car accident on their way; were they dissatisfied with me; how would I pay the bills; would they resent me for having to bill them for a missed appointment; what about the person on my waiting list who was in desperate need and could have been helped instead?
Who wants problems? Nobody! Right? But we all have them. A significant milestone is when we can view our difficulties in a different way than we did as kids. An ongoing problem can be like a tutor … a teacher who is always by your side showing you something important to help you grow. Your learning possibilities are as infinite as God is. But they are limited by your willingness to be “teachable.” The bottom line here is whether you will trust God to use the “difficulties” in your life for goodness and growth.
Here is our life growth process: If you want to receive all that your God has prepared you for and all His blessings, then you must accept His teaching methods. The more humble you are, the more teachable you are. The more teachable and flexible you are, the more you learn. The more you learn, the better you understand life. The more you understand … the easier life is. The easier life is … the more you’ll glorify God. The more you glorify God … the more peace, contentment, and fulfillment you have as you draw closer to Him and achieve the mind of Christ. It’s as easy as that.
All right, I agree that the path is easier to describe than it is to travel. But it can be a fun adventure. If this process sounds like work, you are correct. But the alternative takes more effort over the long haul, comes with more pain and anguish during the process while guaranteeing failed outcomes.
You see, I started considering why God allowed cancellations to occur. Those cancelled appointments taught me that I was a control addict. I needed my agenda to happen my way. When it didn’t, I was derailed. The cancellations became an incredible tutor to me. Now I enjoy cancellations and trust God’s sovereignty, knowing He has something better for me to enjoy or take care of than what I planned during that time slot. He will provide for the safety of the patient and those on the waiting list. He will provide for my finances. And He has plenty of other tasks for me to accomplish with the extra time. Sometimes, what He really wants me to do is rest and have some prayer time with Him!
The other cool thing was that when I understood the lesson and started to “ace” the assignment, God stopped giving me that test so often. This really gave me incentive to dig into other areas of adversity with renewed vigor and insight so I could learn more about God and myself, pass the exam, and graduate to the next level of opportunity and growth with Him.
Today, remember that God is the potter and you are the clay. How flexible are you willing to be in His skillful hands? Take inventory of any recurring problems. Let God tutor you using that adversity. Like it or not, this adversity tutor is relentless. So, don’t ignore it or He will keep giving you the test ‘til you pass. Whether you allow God to teach you using the test of adversity or you learn nothing from adversity and have to repeat the course, over and over, is your decision, so choose well.
Dear Father, I come to you with embarrassment as I confess that I really don’t like this tutor at all. What I really want is to have my problems taken away before I feel stressed. I want to run away from my problems. Haven’t I spent enough time with this teacher? Isn’t there a simpler, less painful way to learn? Father God, I pray to You to help me trust You more … to trust that You intend my problems for something good … my transformation. Beginning today I will try to see my problems as blessings in disguise, as stepping stones to my gradual transformation into Your likeness … depending on You, developing Your perspective, and understanding what is really important to You. Help me this day. Empower me to be a Lighthouse, reflecting Your light to others with ever-increasing Glory. I pray this in the name of my Perfect Tutor, Jesus Christ – and all God’s children say, AMEN!
But now, O LORD, thou art our father; we are the clay, and thou our potter; and we all are the work of thy hand. Isaiah 64:8
These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world. John 16:33