Just the other day it was a beautiful, sunny, 70 degree, fall day. The leaves are turning brilliant yellow, orange and red while being contrasted by the bright green of the luscious grass. It was glorious. One of those days you wish would last all year.
That’s actually what the announcer on our local Christian radio station said. She made a comment to the effect that everyday should be like this until mid-May.
Oh, that sounded lovely!
But… for only about one minute.
I was driving to pick up my kiddos from school when I heard her comment. I hate to admit this, but I often start day dreaming in the car. At this particular time, that’s exactly what I started to do. I started to imagine what life would be like if every day was like that glorious day. How we could play outside every day. How we would be able to take in this stunning portrait of nature that God was giving. How we could go biking, hiking and … skiing?
That’s when I snapped out of my day dream and came back to reality. See, our family really likes to do down hill skiing. We also love white Christmases, sledding, ice skating and frosty trees. We would miss all of that if only had fall days.
That’s when I realized, I would never wish for the same beautiful day over and over again.
Because then that day would lose its beauty. It would lose its gloriousness. I would not have these amazing feelings about this kind of day by mid-May.
I need the contrast to really understand the joy.
How does this relate?
I hear a lot of phrases like…
“I don’t want to crave food.”
“I never want to yell at my kids again.”
“I only want to laugh with my spouse. Not fight.”
“I just want to feel happy all the time.”
I know that you all know, these are unrealistic. That’s not what I’m getting at. What I want you to see that even if you could attain these things, why would you want that?
If you never craved any food, you wouldn’t know the bliss of a crisp, freshly picked apple.
If you never yelled at your kids, you wouldn’t have the opportunity to show true repentance and forgiveness to them.
If you never fought with your spouse, you wouldn’t grow closer by working towards compromise and standing firm in commitment.
If you felt happy all the time, you wouldn’t understand joy, excitement and anticipation (which I believe are even better than feeling “happy”).
I lost my father suddenly 13 years ago to a massive stroke from a brain aneurysm. One day he was alive, and well, the next he was gone. I can’t describe the intense pain that I felt.
Here is where some people might baulk at me; I would never wish that part of my life away. Since I’ve experienced that, my joy is that much more joyous. My relationships that much deeper. My faith that much stronger.
I needed that contrast. As much as it hurt, it was a good pain. It was the pain of growth and change that God knew I so desperately needed. I’m not saying that’s why my father died. I'm not sure why he had to leave this earth so soon. I’m just saying that these were the beautiful blessings God gave me from the tragic event.
My life is more intense or vibrant from experiencing the contrast.
There are lots of bible verses illustrating this contrast….
We would not have the ultimate grace if we tried to prevent His death…
Looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. Hebrews 12:12
And we wouldn’t have endurance, character and hope if it wasn’t for our sufferings…
More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. Romans 5:3-5
Those are just two examples. There are so many more but I want to leave you with something.
When you resist the “sufferings” they just become bigger, greater. We lose the benefits they were meant for.
Don’t resist being overweight. Don’t resist feeling convicted by yelling at your kids. Don’t resist the strain in your marriage. Lean into it. Decide to trust God to turn these all into growth for your benefit.
Because that’s exactly what He’s waiting to do. He’ll get your through the “winter” so that you can find that beautiful spring day GLORIOUS again. You’ll realize the growth and change and it will be that much sweeter.
Are you wondering how to lean into the "struggle"? Or maybe, you just can't find the good in the contrast of life. I've got you covered. Sign up for a free consult with me here.