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“I wish life could just be easy for a little while.  God, couldn’t I have easy for a little while?”

That’s what ran through my head this morning while I was getting ready. Easy – shouldn’t I get easy for awhile?  It’s been a long journey, and I’m tired.  Not just tired.  Weary.

But just as quickly I thought “Who am I to complain?  There are so many people who have it so much worse than I do.”

Because that’s how I’ve been brought up – there’s always someone who has it worse than you.  And it’s true.

But truth or not, sometimes I don’t want to think about those other people. I actually just want to wallow in self-pity.  I want to dwell on the bad.  I want to blow up balloons, hang streamers and have the biggest pity party you’ve ever seen.

I just want to be sad.

And don’t I get to?  It’s been quite the journey over the past 15 years – premature babies, financial struggles, marital troubles, separation, bankruptcy, divorce, sick kid, more financial struggles….gosh.  I’m tired just reading about it.

Reading that list, yeah – life has been hard.

But, let’s look at the flip side of that same list.

Those premature babies?  They received amazing medical care and thrived.  Now they’re 15 and 14, 6’3 and 5’10 respectively – you’d never guess they started out so little.

The years of marital struggles, ending in separation and divorce – yeah, it was hard.  Really hard.  But I learned a lot – an awful lot.  It’s also put me in a place to do my job – I understand what it’s like when life doesn’t turn out how I planned.

And, after all of that pain, God was so gracious and I get a second chance. I get to live life with a man I love so deeply.

Financial struggles, bankruptcy – that’s a harder one to find the good for.  It’s so tiresome, always worrying about money.  It puts a strain on everything.  But, I’ve learned what’s important and what’s not.  I’ve learned what it’s like to give sacrificially. I’ve learned humility in having to ask for help.

And the sick kid?  Well, we’ve learned all kinds of things through that, and we’re still learning.  But we’ve seen good.  I’m learning to trust, to hold on tightly with hands wide open.  I’ve learned what it means to be in community, and am so thankful for the community God has placed around us.

I think I now have a little sense of how our heavenly Father feels when we stray, when we make choices that He knows are going to hurt us, choices that are not His best for us.

So do I get to be sad?  Yeah, I do.  But I don’t get to wallow.  This passage was read in church yesterday morning, and struck me as quite fitting for this train of thought I’m on:

Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.  Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings. 10 And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. 11 To him be the power for ever and ever. Amen.     1 Peter 5:7-11

Now, there’s all kinds of richness in these few verses.  But take a look at this line:  “…after you have suffered a little while…”

After.

Not if.  Not maybe.  After.  Tells me that we are to expect suffering in this world.  That we will suffer – but only for a little while.

And then look what comes after that! Christ will “restore you and make you strong, firm, and steadfast.”  Doesn’t that sound wonderful?

And then there’s this passage:

And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain,for the old order of things has passed away.”  Revelations 21:3-4

No more death.  No more mourning.  No more crying.  No more pain.

It actually makes me tear up with the sheer wonder of it.

And it makes me long for home.

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