I don’t know anyone who runs at life’s struggles with excited celebration. Rather, we all try to run away from them. The reason we run away is because we don’t see the value in the hard times, we only see the pain that is headed our way–and of course, we don’t want that in our lives if we don’t have to have it.

What if struggles didn’t have to be all about misery?

Photo by Paolo De Angelis (Creative Commons)

Inevitably, your life will be full of hard times. Pain, misery, and trauma is headed your way and always will be attacking you from directions you didn’t know existed. If that’s true, then we need to find a better way to handle the ever approaching struggles that are drawing near.
What if we embraced them instead of cast them away?
I don’t wish misery on anyone–don’t let the title mislead you. Death, breakups, depression, and more crappy experiences like them are terrible. I do, however, hope you see something beautiful in the ashes of despair, something worthy of naming; hope.
I love the celebration of struggles in Romans 5:3-4:
Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.
There is hope in the hard times, and there is a reason we have them.
This verse illuminates struggles as an enlightening experience if you read it backwards:
a) in order to have hope, we have to have something better to hope for
b) character comes from the battle to persevere
c) we wouldn’t have to persevere unless we first were in a state of suffering

We need hard times to grow us, not ruin us.

The more we ignore our struggles by putting them in the back closet, the more we fear failure and play it safe, the more we run from our problems, the more we soak in our misery and play the victim, the more we are missing out on the hope that exists right around the corner.
I’ve lost family to cancer, been emotionally crippled by depression, failed relationships time and time again, yet, I look back at them now and praise the Lord. Without them, I would be so much less of a man, of a Christ follower, of a friend, of a future husband and father.

I need hard times, and although my heart will ache when the next one comes, I will see the light of hope that still exists.

In every gloomy storm, where darkness takes over with the roar of thunder and stabs of lightening, the sun is still there. We often forget that fact because the terror happening right in front of us is so real. Even so, the clouds will pass, the storm will end, and the sun will appear again.
My hope is that you don’t squeak by the moments you have to stare hard times in the face. I don’t wish you misery, but I do wish that those hard times are the reminders of growth and hope that are coming your way.
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