Earth is Heaven’s Boot Camp

By Norma Shull Smith

From the moment we take our first breath after leaving our Mother’s womb, we begin basic training! The first 18 years for most of us, is under the authority, leading and guidance of our parents. From toddler to high school graduation, it seems there is some type of educational training that we go through and discipline handed down.
Oh, how eager we are to get out from under authority and on our own, and once we do, it doesn’t take long to figure out, that life has great times, as well as difficult times. We also learn that we continuously have to come under someone’s authority. It is truly the difficult times, that we try so hard to avoid, that give us the best of life’s training. Like the soldier in boot camp, that is put through rigorous, and sometimes almost unbearable training, to prepare the soldier for what lies ahead, God uses our hard times as training, to grow us.
Have any of you ever watched any of the training our Navy Seals are required to endure? On average, only 25% of SEAL candidates make it through what they call Hell Week, the toughest training in the U.S. Military. Boot camp is tough and these who hope to get that honorable designation know it is going to cost them physically, emotionally and mentally to earn the title. https://navyseals.com/nsw/hell-week-0/
Scripture tells us to count it all joy! Count what all joy? Yep, right there it is in James 1:2-3 “My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces [a]patience.” Come on Lord, you know how joyful we feel when the car won’t start, the washer breaks down, or the furnace fails in subzero weather. Surely Lord you know how sorrowful we are when a loved one or we ourselves, receive a bad diagnosis. What does it mean to count it all joy?
God is not expecting us to enjoy being miserable, but He does want us to keep our faith constant, not wishy-washy, with every passing thing that comes our way. James 1:8
He also knows if we turn our eyes away from our circumstance and look to Him with praise and thanksgiving, that it will make our circumstance seem lighter. Did I say thank Him? Yes, because even in the worst of situations, there is always something to be thankful for and that gets His attention!
Hebrews 12:11 says it well: “No discipline is enjoyable while it is happening—it’s painful! But afterward there will be a peaceful harvest of right living for those who are trained in this way.
Life can often be tough, but thank God, for the most part, our training seems to come in intervals, giving us a break here and there. Life needs Endurance, persistence, stamina, positivity and a goal. In First Corinthians Chapter 9, it says that we should run the race in such a way as to get the prize. Life’s Boot camp happens right up until we take our last earthly breath. It is at that moment that all our designations, earnings, material belongings and toys we took pride in, quickly have no meaning. For if you didn’t truly know the ONE who gave HIS life for you, you won’t make the cut.
“There is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12) Eternity Will Matter!

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