“He who learns must suffer. And in our sleep pain that cannot forget falls drop by drop upon the heart, and in our despair, against our own will, comes wisdom to us by the awful grace of God.”
–Aeschylus (From Chapter One, “Working It Out”)
Every once in a while, I become stagnant in my faith. I don’t want to learn anything – I want instant wisdom and knowledge, just shot down from Heaven. I don’t want the experiences that lead to that understanding.
I want what Evan Baxter (the main character in the movie “Evan Almighty”) wanted. But the questions that were posed to his family were:
“If someone prays for patience, you think God gives them patience? Or does he give them the opportunity to be patient? If he prayed for courage, does God give him courage, or does he give him opportunities to be courageous? If someone prayed for the family to be closer, do you think God zaps them with warm fuzzy feelings, or does he give them opportunities to love each other?”
But sometimes, we’re not given the chance to choose whether or not we want to learn. Sometimes we don’t get to see the Master’s plan and have the opportunity to opt out. But in every situation, we have the opportunity to choose how we are going to react.
We can curse and scream, we can become depressed, we can get angry – or we can give into what is certain to be the best outcome – listen to God. Listen knowing that what we are promised in Romans 8:28 is true:
“And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.”
That’s what Abby Rike did. That’s her story – her journey. She lost everything, struggled to deal with the life she was left with, but now inspires the rest of us and shares the lessons she has learned.
FROM THE BOOK: “In 2006, Abby Rike lost the life she knew and loved when her husband and two young children were killed in a car accident. Devastated and numb, she shut down. For nearly three years she walked through life like a spectre, present in body only. As she descended, so did her health. Fortunately, Abby was not alone. She had loving parents, supportive friends, and a faith that continued to sustain her. Little by little she found the courage to return to life.
Joining The Biggest Loser proved a catalyst for the physical and emotional changes she needed to make. In fact, against all odds Abby gained strength, courage, wisdom, and continued her steadfast relationship with God. Instead of anger, she found herself slowly but steadily healing. She lost a hundred pounds but gained hope. In this riveting book, Abby tells her story–from her joyous life before the accident to the unbearable pain that followed it and her eventual emergence as a woman reinvigorated by her faith in God. Today Abby’s resilience and positivity are a testament to the power and importance of faith in the darkest hours.”
The book is very real and raw. It’s not ‘preacher-y’ – just honest in how she dealt with her deepest, darkest struggles and the faith it took to pull her out of the depths.
She tells her story in stages: The Caterpillar, the Cocoon and the Butterfly – this is how we are going to segment our discussions. Next week we will start with Part One: The Caterpillar Stage (Chapters 1-6).
I’m looking forward to walking with each of you through the pages of the book and discovering what lessons God has for me (and hopefully you, too!).