The School Of Hard Knocks


How good for me to have been chastened, so that I might be schooled in your statues.

~Psalm 119:71, REB


Everyone faces adversity; but what matters is what we learn from it.

~Lou Holtz

The NIV reads…It was good for me to be afflicted, so that I might learn your decrees. The root word from which the Hebrew word afflicted comes means to “be put down, to be brow beaten.” The word is a verb and its translation depends on the tense but it carries the idea of being afflicted, oppressed, humbled, bowed down, put down, lowly, depressed, downcast or humiliated. Someone was telling me the other day about a young man who got a football scholarship to a school in Kentucky. The very first day of practice, the coach got in his face and used some rather demeaning term and name calling–worse than a sissy. The young man was upset and humiliated: he had never been talked to in such a way. I don’t think he finished the week: he came home. When I told June about it: she said, “that is uncalled for, no coach needs to call a player such.” Well I have news for Mrs. June and everyone else, in college sports, the military or the workplace, you are going to get put down and put down hard. This is one of the problems with being a helicopter parent: we condition kids for a roll of red carpet and this is not reality.

The truth is–we learn from adversity. Watchman Nee, the Chinese theologian said, “Apart from adversity, we don’t learn a thing.” The Psalmist, like myself, confessed that he was thankful for the chastening, the affliction, the humiliation. He knew as do I that apart from the hard times, there would be many things that we would not know or understand. I know that you have heard of the SCHOOL OF HARD KNOCKS whose colors are black and blue. Most of us have been bumped, bruised and battered along the way. SUFFERING is a school where we learn about our weakness and God’s strength. Suffering produces endurance or stamina. A callous is a hard pocket of skin but at one time it was a blister. God wants us to be sensitive to the needs of others but indifferent to our own needs. These folks who get their feeling hurt over every little thing need to join the Marines or play college sports or get a job in a steel mill. Adversity is great sensitivity training.

I never noticed people with broken hearts until I got mine broken. June and I had owed some Honda’s but never a CRV but once we got one, I started seeing the little boogers every where. A mother called me a few months ago about a child who was addicted to drugs. There was no condemnation is my voice as I counseled with her and you know why. I’m just telling you folks, the SCHOOL OF HARD KNOCKS conditions us to help and minister to others.

I’m thankful for a good Revival and for Tim and Doug. Our folks at Grace Point loved them and they did a fantastic job leading us this week. I am hoping to visit an old friend in Florence today. I hope you have a good day.

One other thing: had a good visit with Lou yesterday. The Hospice Chaplin was there and we had a singing. I recorded Lou on my phone but I was singing so loud, you couldn’t hear Lou. Imagine that! When we got to VICTORY IN JESUS, Lou was going to town on the alto part and hitting every note. It blessed my heart. Thank you Richard Thompson.

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