I have recently heard the idea that “you can’t appreciate the highs without the lows.” Most of the time it comes from well-meaning people trying to encourage someone who is going through a tough time or who has made some mistakes. Other people invoke this expression justify why they have to “learn things the hard way.”
I think we should file the phrase “you can’t appreciate the highs without the lows” under “statements that have no meaning at all.”
Can I appreciate a good marriage without experiencing a bad marriage? Can I be thankful for a good job if I haven’t had a bad job? Can I enjoy sobriety unless I have battled addiction? Must I experience bankruptcy to appreciate wealth?
Obviously it is illogical and unbiblical to think that bad is necessary to appreciate good. Granted, the bad times can provide perspective to the good, but I am of the opinion that information can be as good as experience. I, for one, prefer to learn from the mistakes of others.
The Bible teaches us to learn from tough experiences and mistakes, but it never indicates that we must experience these things to appreciate the blessings of God. I imagine that the Bible would never warn us about sin if we could only “learn the hard way.” Warning someone to avoid sin would be of no use because the only way they could learn that something is bad or has negative consequences is from experience. Do you see where I’m going with this?
If sin was necessary to appreciate God’s goodness and grace, then God is deficient. God either created sin or is in need of sin to accomplish his task. Since this is not a Biblical or logical option, we can deduce that we don’t always have to learn the hard way (though we often choose to learn things the hard way). I think that faithful obedience and simple trust in God is a more fulfilling avenue to joy than the highs and lows of experiential learning.