Too Important To Forget

My life has never flashed in front of my eyes. I’ve heard people say this after harrowing experiences and I don’t doubt that they are telling the truth.  Or at least a version of the truth.  I do doubt that every part of their life really flashed in front of their eyes, though.  Maybe they don’t literally mean that everything that has ever happened flashed in front of their eyes.  Maybe it is just the special things that make the highlight reel.

I certainly wouldn’t want everything that I have done to ever be replayed to me.  Mainly because it would be more boring than a documentary about domesticated cats.  Here are a few of the things that I would want left out if my life ever flashes before my eyes:

1.  All the times I have told myself, “It’s i before e except after c, right?”  I wonder how many more world-changing thoughts the human population could collectively have if we weren’t all pre-occupied with the whole “i before e” issue.  If I could figure that out I could possibly receive the Nobel Prize.  Or recieve the Nobel Prize.  Whichever.

2.  All the times I have picked up dog poo.  Anyone else find it odd that in the master/dog relationship the master is not the one getting his poo picked up?

3.  All the time that I spent watching Perfect StrangersThis show aired from 1986 to 1993 and I watched it almost every time it was on.  Even the re-runs.  Having too much of a good thing can cause it to quickly become a bad thing.  I’m not sure if this is true for everything, but it is surely true for Balki Bartokomous.

4.  All the times I helped friends move when I was single.  From my experience, being a big, single guy with a pick-up truck is the equivalent of wearing a t-shirt that says, “I Love Helping People Move.”  It wasn’t that I minded helping my friends move, it was that they seemed to move more often than Anne Hathaway changed clothes during the Academy Awards. 

5.  All the times that I hit my head on stuff.  I have hit  my head so many times that if I hit it one more time I may not be able to remember any of the times at all.  Which wouldn’t necessarily be a bad thing.  But then that would remove all of the lessons that I have learned from hitting my head about how to avoid hitting my head.  Why have I spent so much time thinking about the ramifications of not remembering the times that I hit my head while writing this paragraph?  Probably because of all the times that I have hit my head.

One thing that did not make this list is all the time that I have spent in the bathroom.  This is because I enjoy spending time in the bathroom.   It’s quiet in there.  Normally.

Another thing that did not make the list is all of the times that I have been discouraged or experienced setbacks or went through trials.  These times are simply too important to forget.

….we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 
perseverance, character; and character, hope.
Romans 5:3-4

The times that we have suffered are too important to forget because they produce qualities in us that we are unable to produce in ourselves; qualities that do occur without suffering.

Please do not misunderstand: I do not like suffering. 

But without trials there are no triumphs.

Without valleys there are no mountains.

Without pain there is no preparation.

If you are going through a difficult time as a follower of Christ, keep trusting God.  He is preparing you, molding you, making you more like Jesus.

If you have made it through a dark valley, do not forget the lessons learned during your  journey.

Some things are too important to forget. 

(What are some times in your life that you hope never flash in front of your eyes?  How has your sufferings made you the person that you are today?  Share away!)

39 thoughts on “Too Important To Forget

  1. You don’t have to be big, you just have to own a truck. Case in point, me. And I’m usually moving by myself (or with other small people) when it comes time to move my own stuff. I’m not complaining, that’s just how it happens.

    My suffering changed me drastically when the Lord changed my name. For my entire life, I had gone by Kelley, which I was ashamed to use to introduce myself. That’s right, ashamed of my own name. I tried using my first name, John, but that caused confusion between Daddy and I. Four years before it happened (and a year before I got saved), a man of God prophesied that God would change my name. The summer between high school and college, the Lord spoke to me and called me Zechariah. Zechariah means “The LORD remembers.” He remembers every time I got made fun of, every time I winced and mumbled my own name, every time I wished my name was something else. He meant it, and He gave me a name I could be proud of, at a point in my life where I could introduce myself to a whole new crop of people as who I am now, not who I’ve always been.

  2. I think my suffering has given me a much more compassionate heart. Losing a job, for example, humbles you. But if you allow it, it will also temper you and change the way you see people who are hurting. As for the things I don’t want to flash before me: you don’t want to know…really.

    • I became far more compassionate as I went through a time of depression a few years ago. In a very strange yet very real way, it was one of the best things that have ever happened to me.

  3. Before I get to the questions, I now I know how to spell Balki’s last name. That’s important info to have. So thanks.

    I don’t want the time I’ve spent cleaning animal vomit to flash before my eyes. It’s super gross and while I have a really strong stomach, I’ve sympathy puked cleaning up some of what my cats have horked up. :::shudder::::

    My husband’s struggle with bipolar and my own issues with depression have made me a far more caring person. I’ve experienced comfort and encouragement in those dark times and I want to pass that on to others who are hurting. And even to those who aren’t hurting, because there’s never a bad time to be encouraged.

  4. Now we do the dance of joy! (It had to be said) In his own way, Balki is rather a poster child for the Biblical phrase “Count it all joy”. If you simply don’t understand that you’re having a bad time, are you really having a bad time, or are you only having a time that would be bad for someone else?

    I’ve learned a lot of lessons from the bad times and struggles, one of which is that God has a sense of humor. Have I told you my spiritual encouragement from lizard urine story yet, Matt? 😀

    Sometimes God even has a sense of humor in how he answers prayer. A few years ago, when my dad and I both lost our jobs at the same time, things got bad enough financially that we couldn’t afford groceries. In my prayers, I held up to the Lord Psalm 37:25 that says “I have been young, and [now] am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed (children) begging bread.” God’s way of answering this claimed promise was that a little old lady who was a friend of a friend of ours turned up on our doorstep with bags full of the “day-old” bread from the fresh bakery. So what we had to eat…was bread. She kept turning up with more bread as our financial struggle continued, and soon we had so much bread that we were sharing with another family. And then two other families. And feeding the birds as well. And we still had too much bread! He truly gave us a cup filled and flowing over and a blessing that we could not contain.

    Which brings me to the other thing God does with our trials. Besides giving us compassion for others, it gives us credibility with others (Christian and non-Christian alike) when we claim God can take care of us. Military doctors know that the best person to talk to a newly recovering amputee soldier is an old amputee soldier. Because when a man tells you it’s gonna be okay and then pops off his own prosthetic leg and shows you his stump, you can’t tell him he doesn’t understand what you’re going through. You lose that excuse to dismiss his advice. I think sometimes God gives us our trials because we couldn’t support others through it if we hadn’t been there.

  5. I can honestly say that the abuse that I suffered as a child totally sucked but God
    use that suffering season to make me a better man…His man. I am grateful for healing but there are things I can show compassion for because of those times.

    Bless ya bro’

    • Thanks, Jay. The things we endure are often terrible beyond description. I love the words “but God,” though. He is able to take the ugly things that happen to us and make beutiful things out of them.

  6. There are lots of things that I wouldn’t want to be flashed before my eyes again. Too many to mention.

    Suffering has allowed me to look to God more often. Also to look at myself. As much as I love God, I don’t love myself very much. There’s some nasty stuff in this heart of mine. Sort of like when you get Jelly inside the peanut butter bowl. It’s just… nasty!

    • I have been there on not loving self much. It’s hard to love your neighbor as you love yourself during these times.

      Jelly inside the peanut butter bowl to me is similar to bread crumbs in the butter. Terrible.

  7. The sufferings faced have definitely molded me to be more like Christ than the few victories. However, the victories certainly gave more energy to press on than the sufferings. So both have been good.

  8. My first comment: Your bathroom is quiet? Evidently your children are not as adept at picking locks as my son. There is no quiet place that I can escape to anymore. At least not while he’s awake.
    As for suffering I’ve encountered… Well, I’m grateful. Every time I’m given a challenge to work through, God uses these moments to draw me nearer. I find myself relying less on my own strength and more on His. Over the last two years I’ve more or less prayed constantly and the outcome is amazing – at least for me. I have been freed from anxiety and stress (And I was an anxiety junkie for 30+ years. Not fun, no.) and I have found that I have a joy that is not based on my circumstances. It is based on who God tells me that I am, how He sees me. That is a mighty thing. That realization has healed me, helped me overcome trials, and given me an inner peace that is indescribable.
    So, yep, I too would like to remember my little lessons. And I would like someone to devise I lock that my six year old cannot pick. I miss taking baths…

    • Ha–yes the bathroom is mostly quiet. It has taken years of “corrective action” to make it possible though.

      Having a joy baed on how God sees us is something sorely lacking in the majority of the people who seem joyless. Glad you were able to overcome.

  9. It didn’t use to be a problem when my life flashed before my eyes.

    Now that I’m a bit older, it takes longer than it used to. I’m afraid I’ll die before I have a chance to finish the highlight reel.

    Is there a fast-forward button on this thing?

  10. I’d like to skip the time I spent watching Napoleon Dynamite. I know many, many people love that movie, but it’s 1.5 hours of my life I can just never, ever, ever get back.

    Changing diapers – and worse – Ultimate Kid Poo Disaster Relief.

    My suffering has been minimal. I’ve been blessed and sheltered by God’s hand, not keeping me from suffering, but guiding me through it.

  11. I’d like to forget the time when I was about 5 years old, and got stung by bee on my jim johnson while running around on our back porch after getting out of the shower. That was enough suffering for one boy.

    My suffering is transforming…in progress. Sin and Suffering have actually helped me to lean into God, rather than turn from him. It also helped to recognize how much more power lies in his arms, than the arms of sin and grief.

  12. I really don’t want to see all the time I wasted doing stupid stuff, unless it was fun stupid stuff like throwing youth in Czech into a swimming pool (fully clothed of course). I definitely want to see that again!

    As far as struggling…it really has been my struggles that have driven me closer to God, shaped me and helped me to trust Him more. I don’t like the struggles, but I do learn from them. Maybe if I wasn’t so stubborn…

  13. What I don’t want to see: all the times I’ve dealt in assumption, presumption, & misperception. My sins spilling over & hurting God & my family, friends, those near to me. Don’t wanna see that stuff.

    Interestingly, I guess I wouldn’t go back and change the trials–because they’ve made me who I am today.

  14. Dude! I love the format of your posts. The balance of humor and faith is refreshing and entertaining.

    I have been in a lifethreatening situation before and my whole life did not flash before my eyes, the future life I might never have did. It scared the shiz out of me.

    Great post, keep ’em coming.

  15. That’s hilarious, esp. the part about the moving. Oh my goodness, I never even thought of that! I’m still giggling.

    And I’ve had two scary encounters with death and I never had my life flash before my eyes. It was more like a peaceful feeling that if I did die, God was with me.

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