Obviously the Bible is where we find God's revelation about Himself and his Son. Having our nose in the Good Book, we discover the timeless lessons that God wants to impart to us.
But as my friend Keith Wasserman says, "Bible study can only take you so far in your Christian walk. There comes a point where you have to close your Bible and go out into the world in order to learn God's other lessons."
Sometimes, those lessons come from unexpected places. Recently, Albert Mohler, president of Louisville's Southern Seminary, spent a month in the hospital. Taken out of commission from his daily routine, Mohler writes how he learned many unexpected lessons:
There's learning that comes from Scripture and then there's the learning that comes from living. Both are necessary ingredients for mature Christian growth.
Just before the crisis hit, I felt great. We had big plans for Christmas and some calm days after the celebration. All that was changed in a matter of hours. I went from strong to hopelessly weak. I went from being in command of my world to being unable to care for myself in a matter of hours. I had no expertise that could help; no medical knowledge that mattered. I was in the immediate hands of the surgeon and the medical staff. I had no control.
The blood clots were a great emergency and a great mystery. Where had they originated? Were more lurking? The human heart, lungs, and brain can be wiped out by a major blood clot in an instant. We are not tough. We are frail and incredibly complicated beings.
Life is so short, and "man knows not his time" (Ecclesiastes 9:12). That knowledge puts things into a new perspective.
Whenever I see someone in life's classroom, getting tested and tried in ways unexpected, learning lessons never anticipated, I marvel at God's invisible hand--and wonder, "Lord, what do you have in store for me next?"
UPDATE: Time Magazine has an interesting interview with Mohler--"A Calvinist Faces Death"