The second way that God teaches us, or instructs us to number our days, is that he trains us through trauma. In other words, God teaches us through traumatic events in our lives.
The psalmist in the Bible talks about this in Psalm 119:71-72. It says: “My suffering was good for me, for it taught me to pay attention to Your decrees. The Law from Your mouth is more precious to me than thousands of pieces of silver and gold.”
Pain jolts us into turning to God and to turning to His Word. In this Scripture, David needed to seek God’s will through His words, through His laws, and through His decrees. David needed to see God’s priorities, God’s values, God’s commands, God’s perspectives ... but it took trauma, and trauma was good. The trauma clarified. I think a lot of us can identify.
When we get trained through trauma, we wish that we had listened earlier, amen? We just go, “Man, I wish that God didn’t have to do that to me—to wake me up—to help me get my priorities right. I wish I would have just listened. He told me that my life is a mist, it’s a vapor; it’s short; it’s a two-minute drill. (see Is. 40:8) I should order my life based on certain priorities that reflect the fact that I have a limited number of days, and I have a limited amount of time to live this life. I’m not guaranteed anything.”
But life does include trauma, and trauma is used for good, the psalmist teaches us. When suffering enters our life, just as for the psalmist, God is teaching us to number our days. He is teaching us to change our perspective.
That’s what happened to me at the Western Medical Center as I served in the cancer ward. That year, God trained me by putting me close to people who were going through the most significant trauma of their lives. I watched poison be injected into their veins and held their hands to comfort them. I watched spouses disappear. I went to funerals.
You know, my mom lived a full life, but when she was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer; she was given just 30 days to live. Luckily, she had some notice. God teaches us, encourages us to go back through and use each lesson of affliction and trauma we’ve had.
For those of you who have yet to be trained through trauma, just be proactive.
Listen to what God says about life—and steward it responsibly.
But for those of you who are going through trauma right now, take the lesson. Let God turn it to be used for good. God has given you notice before your life is done—your one life.
Remember, God trains us through trauma.
For the One Life Series, visit everymanministries.com.
Kenny Luck is the founder of Every Man Ministries and the men’s pastor at Saddleback Church. His 20th book— Sleeping Giant: No Movement of God without Men of God—is the proven blueprint for men’s ministries, and was recently released through B&H Publishing. Watch and read more of Kenny’s teaching here and at EveryManMinistries.com. Follow Every Man Ministries now on Facebook, Twitter (@everymm,) and YouTube.