It is said that Nelson Mandela said, “I never lose, I either win or I learn.”
My Grade 11 science teacher told a class that we learn best from our mistakes, and he said, “by that reasoning my best student is John Clarke.” I love science and learning things about the natural world, but it is also true that I was horribly bad at Grade 11 science.
Learning from our mistakes and viewing loses and failures as opportunities to learn is a wisdom we would do well to emulate and pass on to the next generation.
When faced with life’s setbacks we often wonder, “why me?” The truth is that everyone suffers. The wise ones amongst us learn to fight back when there’s a chance of victory, or to move on to other struggles when the battle is futile.
C. S. Lewis wrote that, “The real problem is not why some pious, humble, believing people suffer, but why some do not.”
C. S. Lewis was not advocating making people suffer, there’s enough of it for everyone anyway. The problem he points to is that it seems that some of us aren’t suffering, or making the effort to help our fellow human being when that’s exactly what the Bible calls us to do.
It is an odd thing, for me, or anyone, to advocate suffering, and I’m not really doing so… What I advocate on behalf of is that we, as a community committed to the Gospel of Jesus Christ, accept that the suffering of my neighbour (next door or the other side of the world) is our suffering too.
I never became a great scientist, and I learn more often than I win, but the suffering we all experience is eased by the love of Christ that dwells in us and enables us to reach out and made a real difference in the lives of others.