The ability to see danger sometimes can be hard….we don’t want to live our life…looking over our shoulder nor do we want to peep around every corner almost being afraid to step….. One of the best ways I have found to be “prudent” or exercise good judgement…is to learn from others or from my own mistakes. Today, in the age of information…you are a google away (a few taps from your fingers) from being able to learn from others. If you are living and breathing, you can open your ears and eyes and learn a great deal from others.

I love scripture….the Bible truly is the Map for life. I love some of the very simple scriptures found in the Bible. They may be short but they are so profound…one of my favorites is found in Proverbs 22:3, “A prudent man sees danger and takes refuge, but the simple keep going and suffer for it.” 

Human nature is a funny thing though….sometimes it has taken me many falls on my face (suffering) to “see” what can be dangerous. For example, it has taken me a long, long time to learn to close my mouth and listen carefully…to fully listen when someone else is speaking. I have come to understand NOT listening can be dangerous. I was well into the Front 9 of life when I had an “ah ha moment” that made me realize becoming a better listener was very important. I am still working on it, and developing skills to become a better listener but it has been a big challenge for me–4 steps forward and 2 steps back. 

Sometimes learning a valuable lesson hasn’t taken so long nor a whole lot of effort…at age 6, I burned my hand on a hot stove, the pain was so intense…at 51, as I reflect on that time….I can almost feel the pain….from 45 years ago. Needless to say the pain was so great I became very cautious around anything that carries heat, whether it is a stove or a flat iron. That one time pain…..taught me diligence for a lifetime. 

Pain is a great teacher. If the pain is great enough…it only takes one time to learn the lesson. As a parent, I have never liked seeing our children hurt from physical or emotional pain. Many times I have spent much thought in how to prevent or circumvent painful circumstances in their lives. I can honestly say in the Back 9 of life…I am learning, which I wish I had learned sooner, to not fret so much over the pain that comes their way. Yes, I hate it. Who wants to watch their children suffer? It grieves me so…but I have taken a different view on pain….it can be a quick and lasting teacher.

Rather than trying to CIRCUMVENT all PAIN in their lives…..I pray a lot more over their pain. I have learned to stop…get quiet before God and ask…”Where, as a parent, do I fit in here?” Do I just pray and remain silent? Do I step in? Do I encourage and listen and offer some advice? Or, do I know they know better and are choosing to refuse to be prudent? In other words…do I let them fall and feel the pain? These are all questions I have learned to stop and ask God. Realizing, “Dropping my hands” remaining silent and allowing natural consequences, which can bring on tremendous pain, can be the BEST and SUREST teacher. Of course, I want to comfort, love, encourage but I have had to realize discomfort, pain, and difficulties teach us, grow us, mature us… be prudent and wiser. 

Today, being days away from turning 52 and well into the Back 9 of life…I have an eagerness to learn….a thirst to know and grow…like never before…and to teach and communicate. I have realized it is true: “Don’t let what you know make you think you know it all.” So I have learned… pain in our lives, even standing on the sidelines and watching the pain in our children’s lives, are great teachers. Will Rogers says it this way, “There are three kinds of men. Ones that learn by reading, a few who learn by observation, and the rest of us have to pee on an electric fence and find out for ourselves.” OUCH!!! The real…OUCH..for me has been remaining silent…watching our kids make their own mistakes and “burning” their hand!

Job 12:12 states, “Wisdom belongs to the aged, and understanding to the old.” Even though I feel young, I know I am on the back 9. Reflecting I see where experiencing first hand pain in my own life has been a solid teacher. My personal experience with pain has taught me to become a student of other people’s mistakes and learn more by reading and observation. I have also learned to embrace pain. I am not at all saying you have to like it, but learn to let pain be your teacher and the teacher in the lives of your kids. Sometimes the pain produces prudence more quickly. Pray for God to use the pain in your life to make you wise and better, not bitter. The result of pain, if embraced properly, can produce a refuge and shelter down the road in life.

Hal Urban calls it, “Learning to be Strong in Broken Places.” Pain is inevitable in life….allow God to grow and teach you through your pain. His desire is never for us to become bitter. His desire is for us to become “BETTER!”

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