Much to my dismay, we have two cats living in our house. It's not really all that bad. They both catch mice when the opportunity presents itself. They both provide my wife with companionship and act as a recipient for her love and affection. For me though, the main enjoyment I get from our two cats is from watching them fail.
For example we have a leather couch in our living room. It's a nice couch. It's cool and comfortable on warm summer days. The cats like to climb up on the back of the couch and sun themselves in the morning while they look out the window. However, the cats have claws, so my wife has placed a blanket on the back of the couch to protect it. And that my friends is where the fun begins.
The leather couch can be rather slippery and when a sleeping cat decides it's time for a big stretch, funny things can happen. More than once a cat has fallen off the back of the couch, taking the blanket with it. When the cat emerges from behind the couch it always acts as if nothing has happened. Gotta look cool you know.
As much as I laugh at our poor cats, I do many of the same things. I can catch mice too, I just don't use my teeth. I like to sun myself on the couch and I love to stretch. Stretching is good. Except when things go "crack!" Has that ever happened to you? Right in the middle of a good stretch I've heard a sudden "pop" in some aging joint of mine or in my back and then I'm rather stiff for the next few days. Maybe I stretched myself too far.
Have you ever been stretched in your faith? I have. My wife has. Many of my friends have. We ALL have at one point or another. The question is, how have we responded? How have we been able to bounce back? We are much like tall trees going through a storm. They get stretched too. Sometimes they go "crack!" But it is the wind in the storm that actually makes them stronger. And so it is with us.
I prayed with a group of brothers at a Christian men's conference back in February. One of the guys actually prayed for more trials in his life because He knew they made him stronger and he knew that during those trials he would grow closer to God. He knew his faith would be stretched, but he also knew it wouldn't be broken. That's the big difference.
"13 No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it." - 1 Corinthians 10:13
I don't think we should ever go so far as to say that God is our "personal trainer" but that is kind of what He does. He wants to see all of us grow in our faith. He wants us to develop our character. He wants us to be strong. He is the author and perfecter of our faith (Hebrews 12:2)
"5 For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, 6 and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, 7 and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. 8 For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 For whoever lacks these qualities is so nearsighted that he is blind, having forgotten that he was cleansed from his former sins. 10 Therefore, brothers, be all the more diligent to confirm your calling and election, for if you practice these qualities you will never fall. 11 For in this way there will be richly provided for you an entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ." - 2 Peter 1:5-10
Jesus said that we WILL have trouble in this world (John 16:33). However in the same verse He also said, "But take heart! I have overcome the world!"
A short video of cats doing stupid things
Rise Above It by Switchfoot