Many years ago, I remember a youth group that called themselves “I. T.” [No, not “it”; it was “I. T.”, short for “In Training.”] Though I was not a youth during that time, I was nonetheless young in the Lord; and that idea stuck.
Here I am, decades later. (In a month I’ll be a senior citizen!) And, yes, it’s become evident (in spades!) that we’re constantly “I. T.”
No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.
I don’t want to be one to wear bad memories like a badge. That’s actually quite pathetic. Rather than being battle-scarred, I think it preferable to have looked at the trials of life as having been mini-boot-camps: preparing us for whatever may come next. Indeed, we’re “In Training.”
Like every Word from God, that Hebrews verse packs a wallop: A harvest of righteousness is promised to those who have been trained. But if we wail and lament, celebrating our past troubles as if they are trophies, what can we say we learned from the experience? the art of whining? How can we say we died to self? by racking up numbers who have heard our story of suffering? When will we see that the course of events yielded a harvest of righteousness? When we’ve managed a few years without “going postal”?
This would-be senior citizen wishes she had a bullhorn to warn those coming along this road with me! God ordained events in my life to bring me to a new place. Sometimes, I got the message—and grew up a little. Sometimes, I utterly failed to be trained by it. No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but how much worse to need re-runs.
So here’s the bullhorn: Be “I. T.” Stop. Take stock. Self-evaluate. Change. Grow. Even if you missed the message when it came through with both barrels, it’s not too late. Glean something out of it.
Put the trophy on a shelf; let it get good and dusty.
My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, 3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. 4 But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.