A Lesson From Ben Hur
"Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything."1
King Duncan writes how "there is a great lesson in the story of Ben Hur—a young Jewish lad who is charged with a crime he didn't commit. In a travesty of a trial he is condemned to the galleys. They chained him to a bench in the hold of a ship and to an oar. For weeks and months, then years he is forced to pull on that oar. If he should ever slack up, he will feel the sting of the lash.
"But finally Ben Hur escapes from this barbaric punishment. It is time for Ben Hur's famous chariot race with Mersala, the haughty Roman. The chariot race is ultimately a test of strength and endurance. As Ben Hur whips those great horses around the inner ring, it is clear that he is the stronger and more fit of the two. The years of pulling on the oar in the hold of a ship had produced a man of steel.
"There may be a great deal of injustice in our lives. We may feel that we are chained to an oar. But if we keep pulling, if we keep giving our best, [with God's help] we can become better people through our hardships."2
True, the trials of life can make us bitter or they can make us better. We can take the high road or the low road. It's never easy but the choice is ours.
Suggested prayer: "Dear God, whenever trials come my way, please help me to accept them as opportunities to grow and become a healthier and stronger person, so I will be better equipped to serve you and help others. Thank you for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus' name, amen."
1. James 1:2-4 (NIV).
2. King Duncan, www.sermons.com.