Ever thought God had taught you a lesson, and that was it? Book closed, notes filed away, class dismissed…only to get a letter in the mail a year or so later saying you needed to re-learn that lesson you’d theoretically already crossed off the checklist. Yep, God does this. And as much as I dread opening that mailbox to see the familiar envelope, I know that it means good things must be coming.
- Multiple Lessons in One: My immediate reaction when this happens is, “Seriously, this again? Didn’t we already go over this the first time?” and to proceed to pout like a whiny 2nd-grader who didn’t get dessert. But maybe part of re-learning this lesson is looking at it from a new perspective, one that includes realizing that I shouldn’t be mad at God for making me re-learn a lesson but that I have to re-learn a lesson.
- No Such Thing As Junk Mail: While this may not be true for the cyber world, this is true for the mail we receive from God. Every message, every hint, every eye-opening moment is important because it’s His way of telling us, “Hey, I haven’t forgotten about you.” Oftentimes, we trash spam mail, but God wants us to savor each and every lesson He teaches us.
- Stop Making a Checklist: Alright, type-As, huddle in. I am guilty of this. Stop making a checklist for all the lessons God has taught you; it’ll only leave you frustrated when He comes around with the same lesson plan because He will. Look at it as more of a web. You learn one main concept, but there can be many branches of lessons from that one concept. It may take several times before we grasp them.
- It’s Gonna Hurt: Old lessons being retaught can be painful. It often means returning to a place that wasn’t all too bright to begin with. And it can pierce your pride to have to admit to needing to remaster something. But pride is usually our Achilles heel.
- Listen: Turn off the TV, close the book, and flip the phone over; listen in close to what He’s telling you. Listen and learn or that mailbox is just going to get fuller and fuller with the same envelope, and before you know it, your den is going to look like Harry Potter’s did in The Sorcerer’s Stone, mail flapping in through the fireplace. What a mess that would be to clean up.
As hard and as frustrating as it is in the midst of rehashing things, remember to “consider it pure joy, brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish it’s work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything” (James 1:2-4, NIV). Easier said than done, surely enough. But God puts us through these trials, again and again, to remind us He’s not finished. Let God fully complete His work.
This is an updated edition of a post originally published on abbyfricke.com
Featured Image by Samuel Zeller