Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you. (1 Peter 4:12, NIV 1984).
Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires. For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. (2 Peter 1:4–8, NIV 1984).
My Musings – The 1984 movie “The Karate Kid” is the heartwarming (some say corny) story of a friendship between a young teen (Daniel) and aging Karate master (Mr. Myagi). The friendship began after Mr. Myagi rescued Daniel from being beaten by several bullies. Asked by Daniel to teach him karate for self-defense, Mr. Myagi assigns several arduous tasks (waxing his car collection, painting his fence, and sanding his desk and walkways) for Daniel to complete. But He is insistent that each task be completed in a specific manner using repetitive hand and arm motions. For example one circular motion with one hand for applying the wax (“wax on”) and the opposite circular motion with the other hand to remove the wax (“wax off”).
Suspecting the Mr. Myagi is merely taking advantage to get some needed chores done around his house, Daniel lashes out in anger at him. It is at this point Daniel learns that the specific motions he had learned through repetition became automatic defensive moves as Mr. Myagi threw several punches at Daniel. Without realizing it, Daniel had learned self-defense through these difficult and somewhat distasteful tasks that Mr. Myagi had assigned.
There are occasions in our Christian walk that God takes through situations that are distasteful. Experiences that we do not understand. We just want to learn to be faithful followers, yet He allows these situations that we often find discouraging. Not realizing that through each experience we are learning from the Master. Then when real difficulties arise in our lives, it is almost automatically “wax on, wax off!” We have been conditioned to respond in a Godly manner no matter what kind of “punches” the world throws at us.
My Advice – It’s easy to lash out in anger at our trials. Much harder to consider what it is we may be learning.