Learning when hobbled
June 21, 2006
A blacksmith in Meadow Lake, Saskatchewan boasted he could shoe any horse. That boast was tested when he was challenged to shoe a wild bronco. Three days later, the horse quietly submitted. My friend, Wayne Bolt, asked how it happened. "Simple," was the blacksmith's reply, "I simply hobbled the horse for three days, and when I went to un-hobble him, he saw me as his friend."
An important word here at Tyndale is pedagogy: how one learns.
Of the most important lessons in your life, what has been their context? Did they take place when everything was going well? When everyone liked you? When the organization was flush with money? My experience is the opposite. As C.S. Lewis suggests, pain is God's megaphone to get our attention.
We learn in the tough moments of life. That seems to be God's prime pedagogical form. Not because he gets his jollies out of our discomfort, but because our blockheaded stubbornness is mollified when—knowing I don't know enough—I drop my defensive posture to learn.
Football was my game. Mike Marashak, coach of the Bedford Redmen, was tough and demanding. Running full back in the old split-T formation, it was only when I was humiliated in our opening game that I knew I didn't know. "Okay, Stiller, are you ready to learn now?" I was, and that year we won the provincial championship.
Are you in hard times? Listen to Paul: "When I'm weak, then I'm strong." This isn't a slick "think and grow rich" slogan. It is how the Lord does his teaching. (I'd love to hear your story of learning.)
Teacher, Wise One from All Eternity, while I would hope my learning could all be done in climate-controlled room, I know too well that in the good times I forget that I have much to learn. So Spirit of the Holy One, temper in me the resilience to see your hand holding on, when it feels the pressure is too great. Amen.
Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Through experiences of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, vision cleared, ambition inspired and success achieved.