I reread the story of Job this week. He had all of those things we believe make someone happy: a family, wealth, land, friends. Yet, all of these were taken away and Job still had the most important thing: Job had conviction in his beliefs and chose not to be shaken from them, even when everything else had been taken from him. He could have easily shaken his fist at God and turned away, and he did not. He chose to persevere and do so with a conviction that God knew him, and loved him.
In the midst of his suffering, Job stated: “I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth;” (Job 19:25)
I see this as a parable for each of us, whether in times of plenty or times of famine, we have a choice.
We always have the ability to choose how we respond to the experiences given us.
I recently read a quote by Deiter F. Uchtdorf: “Often the deep valleys of our present will be understood only by looking back on them from the mountains of our future experiences. Often we can’t see the Lord’s hand in our lives until long after trials have passed. Often the most difficult times of our lives are essential building blocks that form the foundation of our character and pave the way to future opportunity, understanding, and happiness.”
As I thought about this quote and my own life, I clearly see this as truth. There are many things that I have been through that I could not comprehend the purpose at the time. There are many things that I still struggle with that I cannot clearly see the purpose yet. As I think of this quote, I realize that sometimes my patience is being tested, yet again. Through experience, the Lord is teaching me patience.
And there are times that I really dislike it.
But, when I think of what I have learned so far, through the ups and downs of life, the difficulties and trials, I wouldn’t trade those things for the life lessons I have learned. The easy path cannot entice me enough to leave behind the life lessons I have learned through adversity. Those life lessons are too precious to trade.
I think that is what this earth life is about: gaining experience. It is our opportunity to learn. We can choose our responses to life. We can choose to be bitter. We can choose to be humble. We can choose to be beaten, or we can choose to get up and keep fighting.
Like Job, we can choose our own way.
What has experience taught you?