Two family members are staying with us right now and they’re very physically gifted. Part of it is their DNA but much of their physical ability comes from the work they put in at the gym. I’ve been tagging along the last three days and their workouts are amazing (especially compared to mine). I’m reminded of an idea I wrote about concerning our perception of life and it fits perfectly with our last two posts about suffering. (To see the previous two posts on suffering go to How Suffering Can Turn From Bad To Good (When my expectations are violated): Suffering Part 1 and You Harm Yourself When You Do This: Suffering Part 2.)
One time I read about this gym where actors go to get in shape for movie roles. It’s somewhere in Utah. The facility is barren. You won’t find much in the way of machines. Mostly free weights. The guy who runs the gym is radical. He’s serious about the success of anyone who walks through his door.
Now imagine with me, you are one of two men at that gym. One man recognizes it for what it is, a gym. He’s there to become strong. He’s there to receive training that will enable him to fulfill his role successfully. But the man, he thinks it’s a hotel.
That second man — he’s going to be very unhappy.
That’s how it can be for you and for me when we look at planet earth as a place designed for our happiness and comfort.
And if you think it through you wouldn’t want it to be. You can’t grow without adversity, and who wants to live a life without growth. God’s environment for us is similar to your environment for your kids. If you kept everything as cushy as possible for your kids, they might wind up like Wayne and Garth, living in your basement at the age of 35.
Nobody wants their children to remain children. So we allow them to experience different forms of “adversity,” if you will. And no man wants to remain a child.
God tells us in James 1,
Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. James 1:2-4
Trials produce steadfastness. Trials produce strength.
This earth isn’t a hotel: it’s like that gym.
In the words of C.S. Lewis,
“If you think of this world as a place intended simply for our happiness, you will find it quite intolerable; think of it as a place of training…”
Sometimes training in the gym can be excruciating. And training in life can be that way too. But remember: we train for a purpose. We train to become more like Jesus Christ. We train to become more pleasing to our God.
And remember the end.
So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal. 2 Corinthians 4:16-18
This world, this life on earth, it’s a place of training.
Sarah, A Place of Training, Deeper Still… Blog
Francis and Lisa Chan, You and Me Forever, Claire Love Publishing, 2014
Matthew Casey, Springs of Life
Image via U.S. Navy – Creative Commons