One of the many important truth's to communicate to children, whether 4 or 40, is the principle that, "a degree of adversity is necessary for all human development". Counselors and psychologists offices are full today because 'adversity' is something our culture tells us to avoid. I have heard more than once, "I don't want my children to have to 'work as hard as I have'. But we know that in order to grow physically stronger we lift heavy weights which put a strain on our current muscles in order for them to grow stronger. We cannot grow intellectually without applying our minds to strenuous work. But when we begin to consider hardship or the difficulties of life how often do we have a world view that points us towards an opportunity instead of simply avoidance. Pain, C. S. Lewis often stated, "can be Gods mega-phone". Pain is a reality in a fallen world, and can be instructive when seen as opportunity. We have a model in Jesus of capturing the moment to share this truth at his final supper with His disciples.
Jesus broke the bread at the last supper and said, "This is my body which is broken for you (and for you I will known pain)". His plan for change in the lives of his disciples, and the world, started with a decision to enter into a form of suffering, or discipline for our sakes. And the fruit of His pain has changed us and changed history.
If there are places in our life, or the life of our family, that need to be developed, let us embrace the pain of change and adversity that may follow the decision to make positive change. Christ's pain was not to make us happy but to make us holy and similarly lasting change that ultimatley yields good fruit will not be painless. What ways can we learn, and teach others to learn, to grow in grace and Christian discipline? Is our vision for life one that is shaped by the cross of Christ, or do we weep over our personal losses more than we weep for 'the lost'? Ouch! When I answer that question I know there is 'a degree of adversity' in my future.