The Good and The Bad
Human beings are prone to think we don’t need anything to go wrong in our lives, no need for hard times and certainly no negative circumstances. But Gods’ Word says in Ecc. 3:1-5, “To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck what is planted; a time to kill; and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; a time to weep; and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing.
Apparently there is a reason we need both. A study, which was published in the Social Psychological and Personality Science journal, found people who have previously dealt with pain are more able to enjoy transient pleasures. The researchers wrote: ‘Individuals who had dealt with more adversity in the past reported an elevated capacity for savoring.’ The study seems to support the maxim ‘that which does not kill us makes us stronger’ and enables people who have gone through difficult circumstances to appreciate small pleasures more easily.
Well I don’t think I really like that any more than you probably do but I do know it to be true. Think about a child. If they are never told “no” or get everything they want we call those children spoiled. They tend to grow up into selfish, demanding individuals who cannot appreciate anything that doesn't benefit them.
Even though difficulties make us appreciate the good things our lives bring to us they can also devastate us. What makes the difference? How we handle those hard times. If it’s a difficulty with a person who has hurt us and we choose to not forgive them and let it go, we can become bitter and resentful.
In that scenario we don’t hurt the other person we damage ourselves. Forgiving people doesn’t make what they did right but it heals our hearts of the pain. If we lose a loved one by a senseless tragedy, blaming the person responsible and holding onto resentment can’t bring our loved one back but resentment can destroy our lives.
Each difficulty we face is nothing more than an opportunity to grow, change and learn. We learn about ourselves. When we respond badly we can then ask ourselves, “Why did I react that way?” It’s in the discovery of the “why” that we grow. We can choose to ask the right questions to ourselves or blame everyone else for our unhappiness. It’s just a choice.
Our family has had some pretty terrible and difficult challenges this past year. It was pain I would wish no parent would ever have to endure. But, I can say today that we are closer and becoming healthier as a family than before. The trial isn’t completely over but in the midst of it we are thriving.
For myself personally I’ve grown so much through this. I’ve had to learn to trust God on a level I never dreamed I could. I’ve learned to put His Word into practice like I have never had to before, and I’ve seen first hand that Word never fail me. I would not have the confidence I now have in His Word had I not had to lean on it for my very life.
Isaiah 55:11 states, “So shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it. If there were no difficulties there would be no need to stand on His Word and see God prove His faithfulness to us. Difficulties point out "where" we need to grow, "where" our foundation is lacking strength and "what" is a weakness for us.
So whether in good times or bad, happiness or sorrow, wealth or poverty, sickness or health we can determine only one thing…our attitude. We can choose to embrace whatever comes with a resolve to trust God IN it. Like one minister put it, “We can’t keep birds from flying over our heads but we can keep them from building a nest in our hair!” Birds of disappointment will fly overhead occasionally but only we can choose to not let them build a nest of despair in us!