McDowell Technical Community College

Life Lessons

By Doug Harrell

As I sit here at my desk getting ready to write this article my mind is going over all the lessons and teachers that have touched my life over the past 75 years!  Each person that we interact with on more than a casual basis has an impact upon our lives, either good or bad.  Life lessons and habits are a culmination and accumulation of actions and events that have occurred over the years.  Now I am not a believer in that we are all totally products of our environment, because I truly believe that we can determine our reaction to events, different folks turn life events into different outcomes every day.  Many things in life we cannot control, but we can control how we react to the things that life throws at us.  Deciding to look at life through the rose-colored glasses is not all bad, but can be very helpful to our future.  Don’t misunderstand me here, we all know that we must deal with reality and face the problems that will arise in our lives.  Even with reality, we have a choice in deciding if we will look for the seed of benefit rather than just the challenges.

The only way that I know to be able to have the rose-colored glasses is through deep faith in our Lord and Savior, only that faith will sustain us in certain situations.  The scriptures are full of messages that help us on this journey through life and one of my favorites is Psalms 23 “The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”

I guess the biggest lesson I am learning, can’t say that I have learned it yet, is to realize that I am not in control of many of life’s events and that God’s hand is involved.  Learning to lean on Him is always the biggest challenge for believers and it is a constant process day by day.  At a young age we think life will always go on and that the end is never coming, or is so far away that we don’t even think about it.  As we age, all that changes, and we see the hurt that takes place.  Today I had the opportunity to visit with a dear lady that had lost her teenage son and shortly after that was diagnosed with MS, I am sure a year ago she had no idea what was going to happen!  Folks, crap will happen if we live long enough, we don’t get out of this old world alive and there will be messes we will go through.  Romans 8:28 “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.”
Accepting this scripture mentally is tough at times for all of us, but oh what a relief it is when we come to the realization that it is true if we believe.  Many times, in my life things have happened that I felt were insurmountable, but in the end I was blessed because of them.  God does not always work on our timetable, but if we stay in his will, he does work.  We need to let our relationship with the Lord determine our attitude, not the events of the day.  Being willing to let go and let God, can be tough but when we are able to sing praises regardless of the events, then we are making progress.  Philippians 4:11-13 “Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: everywhere and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me”.

Having a relationship with Jesus is like a GPS in many ways, you plug in a destination and the GPS gives you instructions along the way, when you make a wrong turn, it tells you how to get back on track. The relationship with Jesus does the same thing with our lives. When our true destination is eternal life with the Lord and Savior and we are on life’s journey, we will make wrong turns, grace and forgiveness cleanses and washes away the mistake, and our conscious understanding of God’s will and direction puts us back on the correct road. We know we made a wrong turn, but we are forgiven and can get back headed toward our destination. Psalms 103:8-11 “The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and plenteous in mercy. He will not always chide: neither will he keep his anger forever. He hath not dealt with us after our sins; nor rewarded us according to our iniquities. So as the heaven is high above the earth, so great is his mercy toward them that fear him”. Study His word, meditate on His teachings, and follow the urging of the Holy Spirit in the direction of your life today.  Have a blessed and Merry Christmas.