A few years ago a brother shared with me a condition he had with his eyes. Stress, especially anger, triggered a reaction in this rare ailment that caused him to lose some of his vision temporarily. The doctors told him that unless he learned to control his temper he would lose his sight. He took them seriously and adjusted the way he dealt with frustration.
Stress can be bad for us, but it can also be good for us. In fact, instead of causing us to lose our vision, stress can help us see clearer.
Being confronted with problems is good for us. There are thoughts we would have never considered and lessons we would have never learned had we not been pressured to think of them. We become mature thinkers as we walk through the valley of the shadow of death. We become wise soldiers after we have spent time on the battlefield. Our environment can squeeze out of us wonderful, penetrating insights.
Insights are not born out of an atmosphere of comfort. They arise from the fires of persecution, the pain of affliction, and the stress of conflict. We tend to be lazy in our thinking without these trials. The experiences of life compel us to reflect and to figure out difficult questions.
The Prodigal saw how good things were at home when he became so hungry he wanted to eat hog food (Luke 15:16-17). Nebuchadnezzar realized that pride is an abomination after he lost his mind and wandered the fields like an animal for a time (Daniel 4). David said, “Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now have I kept thy word” (Psa. 119:67).
The school is expensive, the lessons are hard, and the tests are torturous, but the education of life will make us wise if we listen.