“Contrary to what might be expected, I look back on experiences that at the time seemed especially desolating and painful with particular satisfaction. Indeed, I can say with complete truthfulness that everything I have learned in my 75 years in this world, everything that has truly enhanced and enlightened my experience, has been through affliction and not through happiness.” ~Malcolm Muggeridge, in Homemade, July, 1990


A good friend of mine, who happens to be my daughter-in-law, mentioned that she is learning that life is hard, marriage is hard and parenting is hard.  Her comments, which definitely resonated with me, caused me to think back to how I was raised.  Since neither of my parents was Christian (although my mom became a believer when I was 16) I grew up without any biblical influence.  Two values, however, were taught:  ‘hard work toward a goal brings rewards most of the time’ and ‘good girls don’t’. How’s that for wisdom!  What was NOT taught: ‘Life’s norm is pain, suffering and hard times, punctuated by joy and delight’.  I learned that gradually.

Why do parents keep Truth from children? After all, the Fall is a fact and Jesus himself suffered.  He taught his followers the folly of thinking their lot would differ from their master’s.

John 15: 20Remember what I told you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also”.

Hebrews 2:18 – “Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.”

  Have parents grown hyper-protective in recent generations? Have they thought shielding their offspring from pain and danger via staged, enriching experiences and tech toys a better way to equip their kids for life? Or what about the limitless choices we hold out to our young people, tempting them with the illusion of scripting and controlling their destiny?  My juniors and seniors at school are overwhelmed with the idea that they could potentially apply to hundreds of colleges.  What if……? How do I find the RIGHT school that will….?

This parental approach to life is not taught in the Bible. In fact, it is assumed that parents will use wisdom to instruct their children.  Peter is blunt as recorded in 1 Pet 4:12-13:

“Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice inasmuch as you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed.”

His words point to suffering as part of the warp and woof of life.  Wouldn’t we be helping our children to teach them this reality early on?  No one chooses to suffer, but suffering is part of life.  Maybe this generation would not flee the church if authentic living were modeled.  Instead of shielding kids from disappointment and pain, we could face and work through our own suffering with transparency.  We could then stand with them as they go through their own hurts as youth. 

We could remind them of Jesus, recalling that Jesus chose a course of action that led him through MORE suffering than they or we will ever face.  Of course, Jesus was not a sucker for pain: He had a definite outcome in mind, one that would make the pain worth it. 

Hebrews 12:2 For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

What was this joy that caused him to face cosmic torture?   Us!!!  To purchase our freedom, He faced the cross.  Two take-aways:

–      We won’t ever suffer as much as Jesus

–      He consider us worth suffering for

So as the French say, ‘Bon courage’!