“Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial . . .” – James 1:12
For years my wife Tee and I have been avid joggers, a little slower now than we once were, but we are still at it just the same. On one particular morning a few years ago I remained behind to do some yard work while she took off for a run through the neighborhood, only to return a few short minutes later. As she limped toward me with a busted lip and two skinned knees there was no doubt she had stubbed her toe along the way and suffered a nasty spill. Intense pain beyond that of ordinary scrapes and bruises called for a trip to the emergency room which revealed an even worse injury, a fractured shoulder. Not a serious one, though, and with the aid of ibuprofen for the pain and a few weeks of convalescence, followed by some therapeutic exercises she was healed and rehabilitated. So, what did she do next? Not to be discouraged by her mishap, she got right back out there conquering the streets of our neighborhood in the dark hours of the early morning – though perhaps a little more cautiously!
My grandmother once told how she got pitched off her horse while on a leisurely Sunday afternoon ride with my grandfather and a group of their friends. After helping her up my grandfather insisted she re-mount the horse immediately both for the sake of her own confidence as well as to let the horse know she had not been intimidated. So, back in the saddle she climbed, continuing her ride without further incident – though perhaps with a more clear understanding between herself and the horse!
Mishaps and mistakes are part of life. All of us stub our toes or get thrown off from time to time. What’s important is how we respond. If we allow it, misfortunes can deflate our confidence and discourage our progress. Or, they can become some of our greatest learning experiences and best sources of wisdom. My grandmother climbed back in the saddle rather than lose confidence in her ability to ride. My wife returned to her jogging routine rather than being discouraged by her injury. Both learned valuable lessons from their nasty falls, and grew to be wiser from those painful experiences.
What great demonstrations from these two fine women of how to persevere under trial!