Wednesday, October 20, 2021

Lessons Learned

 Dan Fogelberg wrote a song entitled, "Lessons Learned," in which he wrote the line:

"Lessons learned are like bridges burned, you only need to cross them but once." 

Now that line fits well with the tune of the song, but I find it is most often not true.  In fact, in my own life I have experienced many times when I learned a lesson, and later needed a refresher course.

My guitar is a perfect example.  I purchased it in November 2015 and started learning how to play.  But in 2016 I began to experience pain in my left thumb joint. (The left hand was the hand I used to make chords on the guitar.)  In 2017 I was diagnosed with arthritis in the base of my thumb and in 2018 I had surgery on the joint which involved removing a bone.  All of this effectively put an end to my guitar lessons.  The surgery was followed by a painful,ten month rehab, but now the joint is relatively pain free and functional.  However, the "knowledge gained" as Dan Fogelberg mentions in his song, was lost.  My fingers remembered nothing of the chords I had tried to learn.   A refresher, or perhaps a restart course was necessary.

There are things in my career I find also need re-learning.  Emergency procedures rarely used need to be re-studied, practiced and reviewed to make sure we know how to do them when the time arises.

No where is this concept truer to me than in my Christian life.  I have had lessons that I thought I had mastered, but later realized I needed a deeper understanding, a fuller realization of it in my practical life.

For instance, I know that the Lord is with me wherever I go.  I know He purposes to lead and guide me, to strengthen me, help me and to cause me to walk in His will.  However, there are places to go that are frightening, places that are painful, places that are unfair, places that are just bothersome for some reason. I know that He will go with me there and be all that I need Him to be in that moment, but still, when I step into that place I must remind myself that He is there.  I must make the choice that He has allowed this moment not only for my good, but for my very best.  I need to refresh myself on the truth of the lesson.

When I learned to play the piano at 13 the first hymn I ever played was "Trust and Obey."  I played the melody line and a couple notes of the accompanying chords.  Later, after many piano lessons, I was able to play the hymn just as it appears in the hymnal.  After years of playing the piano, I could play not only what I saw written, but improvised based on what I knew of the chord progressions and harmonies.  Same song, same lesson, only more, deeper and better.

Our Christian lives are paths of growth.  The same song, the same lesson, only more, deeper and better.  The more we know the Lord and His Word, the more we can fully understand our lesson for that day, that year, that place.  Each relearning increases our knowledge of Him.  Increasing our knowledge of Him deepens our understanding of the lessons. And forever we will be learning of Him.

"But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.  
To Him be glory both now and for ever. Amen."  
2 Peter 3:18


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