Editorial: Father Knows Best
Editorial by Dave Weigley
As a young pastor, I was a little amazed when a visiting evangelist suggested we take his motorcycle to visit individuals who were attending the evangelistic meetings. I told him I didn’t consider it safe to ride around in the city on a motorcycle. He replied, “Don’t worry. There are only two types of motorcyclists: those who have never gone down and those who have,” or those who have been in an accident and those who haven’t.
Interestingly, the Christian life is a bit like that, for there are only two kinds of Christians: those who have never experienced a major trial or crisis and those who have. However, if we live long enough, somewhere along the way we are going to experience a challenge that tests our faith.
Lessons From the Journey
God’s Word has a lot to say about trials. In it we learn that Moses
struggled with how to lead the people of God. David and Peter realized the nemesis of their own humanity by denying Christ. Through Solomon and David, the Spirit of God shares: “My son, do not despise the chastening of the Lord, nor detest His correction; For whom the Lord loves He corrects, just as a father the son in whom he delights” (Prov. 3:11-12, NKJV). And,
“It is good for me that I have been afflicted, that I might learn Your statutes” (Ps. 119:71, NKJV).
Somehow, in God’s inscrutable will, He determines that only through trials can He teach us important lessons about Him and/or life. How we respond is our choice, but the best course for enduring each one is surrendering ourselves to His will with a seeking heart to understand the intended lesson.
There is a story I have learned to appreciate the longer I walk with the Lord, which has given me some insight into why trials happen. It depicts a man attempting to teach a songbird a certain tune. Over and over again, he whistles the tune to the bird, but many distractions in the room keep it from concentrating. The teacher gets the idea to cover the bird’s cage with an opaque cloth, then tries again. It is only in the midst of darkness, without “worldly distractions,” that the songbird understands the distinct voice of the master and learns the lesson he desires to teach.
Ellen White applies the analogy to our life, “He has a song to teach us, and when we have learned it amid the shadows of affliction we can sing it ever afterward” (Ministry of Healing, p. 472).
I sum up life with this axiom, “Life isn’t fair; we only have a fair God.” And, that fair and loving Father-God knows best, especially in the midst of a trial.
Dave Weigley (firstname.lastname@example.org) is president of the Columbia Union Conference.