For a Moment

Life can be funny. Little things build up and become big things, big things crumble, and then sometimes I look around and wonder how we got to where we are. I wonder how plans that should have gone smoothly experience 100 bumps along the way. We ask the daunting question of why bad things happen to good people and secretly pray for karma. Life can be filled with suffering. We aren’t promised an easy life, but sometimes I wonder why it can feel so hard.

Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.
— Romans 5:3-5

I’ve read this verse so many times, over and over again. I’ve had friends remind me of this: “There’s joy in the trail,” and a classic, “Smile through the tears, E.”

I’ve always thought something was wrong with me. People could find peace in the midst of craziness and calm in the storm, but whenever the hurricane came over, I just wanted to cry. I wanted to fight it, but my first step was wanting to cry. Then I sit wondering, I’m supposed to smile right now?

I’m going to be honest: I don’t know if I’ve ever gotten awful news and sat there and been excited. I don’t think I’ve ever been told a friend died, a family member is sick, or that tragedy has stuck and been smiling or thinking about how pumped I am for this suffering; is that what we are supposed to do?

I don’t think so. I don’t think Jesus expects our hearts to shatter and for us to immediately bounce back and smile and do a hair flip and move on.

I do think we are supposed to hold on, though. I think we are supposed to hold hope because God is God. He is love, peace, and sovereign. We are supposed to cling to that. We cling to His promises, which are unfailing, that trials and sufferings will be used for His glory.

Our trials, mishaps, failures, and disappointments are being used for God’s glory. How cool is that. How cool is the fact that something as small and worldly as searching for a job or having a sports injury is going to be used for The King of King’s glory. He has chosen us to play a part in His story.

God doesn’t need us. God isn’t searching for help. God is fully and completely sufficient. God loves us – He has chosen us and continues to choose us every day.

That’s a reason to smile. There is joy in the suffering because God is in the suffering. He is working in us and with us, through us and for us. This doesn’t mean you have to hear devastating news and be okay or feeling guilty when you aren’t okay within a week. It does mean, however, that we cling to hope, as an anchor for our soul: He is with us and we will never be alone.

And that’s every reason to smile.

When this burden is lifted, I’ll give thanks to your name, but until it is finished, I’ll give praise just the same.

StoriesErica Boden