Anna Ilona Mussman wrote this post about fear, hard times, and the flighty nature of happiness. Reading it, I could feel what it was like again, being a twenty-something, young marriage, babies coming, career starting–everything possible. Everything ahead.
Oh boy, do I remember that.
Hard times came. Three miscarriages – four if you count the adoption that fell through. A huge crisis of faith. Delayed studies. No career. Marital problems. Family problems. Health problems. Losing a call – losing our home, our friends — instantaneously. Waiting for another call.
That’s twenty years worth of problems — interspersed with twenty years of joys.
But those hard times add a dimension to my life that I wouldn’t want to be without. Maybe in a sinless world, I wouldn’t need them. But I need those hard times to see what is truly good in this life.
They remind me that my husband loves me with a love that is deep enough to matter. He loves me when I am not worthy of being loved, and I love him. He doesn’t walk away when things get hard. Neither do I. We cling to each other.
When times are hard, I see how strong and good my children are, and I am completely astounded that God trusted me to take care of these two amazing people. I am even more astounded that I didn’t completely mess it up. They have strong faith in Christ, they are moral. They are clever. They are caring. More often than I like, this is despite me, not because of me. God is good.
When times are hard, I see that I have friends that are not just fair-weather friends, but that truly care. Most of my friends are long-distance friends. So it can be easy to forget.
During hard times, I learn to be incredibly thankful that God is looking out for me. As of yet, I still have never been without a roof over my head and food in my stomach. I have a coat to keep me warm, even if I no longer have any sweaters, long underwear, or snow boots.
Knowing that many of these hard times come about because I am the greatest of sinners — I am thankful that God is sustaining my faith through His Word and His Sacraments, and that He loves me, and I am in no way worthy of that love.
I also am reminded that since I am so very flawed and in need of Jesus, that even the people who may be causing these problems also are people that Jesus loves, and are forgiven by Him, and He wants me to do that, too.
When times are good– and there are so many good times, I forget these things, and I need to remember them. It may seem strange, but during these painful times, I can still say that I am happy. How could I not be when I am so aware of the good that permeates my life?
God promises Christians there will be hard times. He also promises that He will be with us through these hard times. He promises that all things work out for good for those who love Christ Jesus. He promises that He uses hard times to shape us into what He wants us to be.
He promises. We cling to those promises. I cling to those promises the most when things are the hardest. I tend to forget when things are good. So I am thankful for the hard times.