Hard is not equal to bad

Hard things are not bad things. Hard times are not necessarily bad times.

This seems to be the lesson of the summer for me and at least a few friends. Paul and James seem to agree.

This is one of those principles that is easy to think about abstractly and challenging to live well in actuality. My natural tendency is to ask what I’ve done wrong, where I made a mistake, or what in the world God is up to when things get hard. (Yes, I realize that the “hardness” that I am experiencing is nothing compared to the lives of many people around the world. Remembering that keeps my own life in perspective. I have much to be thankful for- I am fed, clothed, and sheltered; I am safe, loved, and protected; I know Jesus and have peace even in the questions of the present.)

This summer is hard because there are many questions and so far, few answers. This summer is hard because the learning curve is steep. There’s a lot about myself that I’d like to change; there’s a lot about my future that I’d like to know (or at least have a peek at!). I have become more aware of my own brokenness and more aware of my desperate need for the grace of God.

I suspected that this would be the case. Change is not my favorite thing, and mystery is my friend only when surrounded by familiarity. I just didn’t know what “hard” would look like.  So far, it’s looking like a lot of wrestling with what is important, what is not, what I know, and what I don’t know.

The last several months have seen many prayers for grace to grow deep through the hardness, and that may be something that doesn’t show up right away.  The most important is known, though.  The gracious character of God is a steady anchor for the soul, and that keeps me sane!

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