////// An IronMen Moment //////
IronMen...thinking about wise sayings of sailors.
It is said that "A smooth sea never made a skilled sailor."
The hardships -- and *rough seas* -- of life do seem to have a way of training us to be more skilled at living it. Well, we sure hope so.
But there's part of the rub for us. Some learn by experience, while others don't. Experience can be a very tough teacher: the quip goes that Professor Experience will give you the test first -- which you may or may not pass -- and then give you the lesson later. If you survive the test, then you get to benefit from the lesson.
The book of Proverbs (in Scripture, written by Solomon, and others), seem to call out this one theme above so many others, like shouting a key question from a rooftop:
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"Who among you is wise enough to learn from another person's mistakes?"
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The first seven chapters of the book are focused upon what can be taught the naive learner by watching what poor decisions the Fool makes, who walks as if stumbling blindly through life, never seeking God... as if expecting better results.
The great Teacher in Proverbs seems anxious for the reader to LEARN AT A LOW COST to themselves.... lessons that have cost many fools a great deal.
For some Fools, the cost was their entire chance at life. Meaning, they died trying. Professor Experience gave them the test and they failed. Other Fools were like those whom Paul described as having "shipwrecked their faith" (I Timothy 1:19).
"A smooth sea never made a skilled sailor." Perhaps not, since we need the hardship of training to cement-in the lessons we have opportunity to learn. But a foolish sailor never gained skill, either.
So, it seems we need *both* the trouble God allows us ("each day has enough trouble," He said, in Matthew 6:34, and "In this world you will have trouble," John 16:33)
we need the wisdom to navigate through that trouble, learn from it, learn from other's experience, and listen faithfully to what God teaches us *in advance* of the trouble.
As sailors on our personal stormy seas, He won't keep us *out* of the storm, but He *will* teach us and train us to navigate them.
Isn't it amazingly kind in God to not abandon us to our own failures, but to provide us with second chances, and wise teachers, and kind fathers and mothers, and an entire library (66 books, 70 if you count the 5 books of Psalms!) full of strategic know-how?
God is good. All the time.
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