Live Well, Love Well

SOMETIMES LIFE IS JUST HARD

I love a happy ending. Redemption, distributed fairly. The boy gets the girl. The hard worker is handsomely rewarded for his effort. Good prevails. And, I’m not talking about the eternity after, I’m talking about the here and now.

In essence, I want life to be a Hallmark movie sitcom. You know who is going to eventually end up together, but the characters have to overcome the winds of challenge and upset, with plenty of humor through every misstep, to eventually realize that they always loved each other after all. The end.

That seems like just enough drama and tension, while still providing the happy ending I crave. I mean, Ross was Rachel’s lobster. They had to end up together.

We like to tell our stories of breakthrough. From the other side of the trial. I had to go through x, y and z, but here I am now with all of these blessings. God is good.

And, he is. So very very good. We absolutely should share our stories of breakthrough, of finally receiving the long awaited miracle and seeing a desire fulfilled. These stories provide hope.

But, God is good no matter what. Even if he doesn’t (fill in the blank), he is still good. That’s a harder story to “sell.” That can also be a hard truth to believe in the middle of the waiting and unknown.

Sometimes life is just hard.

Hearing stories from the ones still persevering and waiting to receive a breakthrough are rare, although I am hearing more and more brave souls share their deferred hopes and dreams more openly. Waiting can often feel like failure, and be carried as shame or guilt.

I know because these are lies I have to fight against when addressing my own singleness.

Yet, these very stories are the ones that spur on courage and faith in others, and they allow a soul to intimately know the joy that Paul talks about having, regardless of circumstance.

The breakthrough stories remind us to cling to hope and faith, to believe that a way can be made. To keep pressing on.

However, the stories shared in the middle of the hard bind us together, they remind us that we are human and not alone in our struggles and hardships.

Sharing from a place of waiting and unknown is hard, especially since we are inundated with stories of miracle upon miracle. I know I’d rather share about my struggles once they’ve been solved, not when I am treading and processing the unknown in real time.

When uncertainty lasts longer than we expect, or we only seem to be receiving the response of silence to our prayers we can start to question. Is my faith big enough, are my prayers long enough? Enough, enough, enough. How easily we turn to our own strength and understanding when things get hard, trying to manipulate circumstances and make our own way.

As hard as it is to share the details of the uncertainty, it is important. Because, while God can answer our prayers exactly as we hope, more often than not we find ourselves sitting in the truth that his ways and thoughts are higher, and his timing is not our own.

God is an intimate friend, father; he is also a mystery. He works wonders far greater than we can imagine, and yet how many times do we miss, (I miss), the miracles of each day. The sun setting and rising. The breath of life given from creator to creature. The careful and meticulous attention to every detail that only God could imagine and flawlessly execute.

And as others share their stories of struggle I pray that we listen. Really listen. Life can be so hard and confusing. And, sometimes we don’t need to quote a verse or offer an answer or solve a problem. We simply need to acknowledge that life is hard and that we, too, have been through hard times.

Sometimes a silent nod of understanding is the only advice needed.

God is good and faithful, and everything spoken about him in the Bible is true. He can be trusted with a yes and amen always.

And also

Life is hard and beautiful and messy, a dichotomy.

Let’s not miss the opportunities to share how God meets us in the hard, unknown, unexpected. He is with us in every valley and atop every mountain. May we have the wisdom to share our experiences, to God be the glory.

Sometimes the clearest evidence that God has not deserted you is not that you are successfully past your trial but that you are still on your feet in the middle of it. -Dale Ralph Davis

Keep hoping for those breakthroughs, for those miracles, even when life is hard. And, share the stories of surprise and delight during the hard and after the relief.

We need to hear them all.

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