In an article called “Don’t Waste a Crisis” for the Leadership Journal,1 John Ortberg provides the following illustration:
“Imagine you’re handed a script of your newborn child’s entire life. Better yet, you’re given an eraser and five minutes to edit out whatever you want. You read that she will have a learning disability in grade school. Reading, which comes easily for some kids, will be laborious for her. In high school, she will make a great circle of friends, then one of them will die of cancer. After high school, she will get into her preferred college, but while there, she will lose a leg in a car accident. Following that, she will go through a difficult depression. A few years later she’ll get a great job, then lose that job in an economic downturn. She’ll get married, but then go through the grief of separation.”
With this script of your child’s life and five minutes to edit it, what would you erase?
Psychologist Jonathon Haidt poses this question in this hypothetical exercise: Wouldn’t you want to take out all the stuff that would cause your child pain?
If you could erase every failure, disappointment, and period of suffering, would that be a good idea? Would that cause your child to grow into the best version of him- or herself? Is it possible that we actually need adversity and setbacks—maybe even crises and trauma—to reach the fullest potential of our development and growth?
Ortberg contends that God doesn’t always erase all of our stress and pain before it starts. Instead, God can use the failures, disappointments, and periods of suffering to help us grow. Ortberg writes, “God isn’t at work producing the circumstances I want. God is at work in bad circumstances to produce the me he wants.”
On Sunday, we’ll be back into our deep dive of First Peter. At 9:00 and 11:00 a.m., our trek will take us through 1 Peter 1:6-12. Peter’s main theme is adversity. Trials. In fact, Peter’s challenge is for Jesus-followers to gush when they’re being crushed. Sound crazy? The practical application will blow you away. If you’re gushing or crushing, you should check this one out. God’s working to produce the image of Christ in all of us. Will you let Him?
See you Sunday!
1John Ortberg, “Don’t Waste a Crisis,” Leadership Journal (Winter, 2011)
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