“The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of the depths. These persons have an appreciation, a sensitivity, and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, and a deep loving concern. Beautiful people do not just happen.” Elisabeth Kübler-Ross
No one asks for defeat, suffering, struggle or loss. You grow up and have hopes and dreams, but those aren’t always reality. This past year we have been touched in one way or another by all of these things, both personally and through close friends.
A friend recently said it best…”Our journey with children has been far different than we ever dreamed of, yet we find peace in God’s plan and comfort in His presence, and will follow Him into the unknown because HE is our redeemer!”
Life is hard, especially with young children or when you experience any of these things, but choosing to find the joy and peace that each day brings, despite the struggles, offers HOPE and perspective in an otherwise depressing world. And sometimes, even though it sucks in the moment, suffering can be the thing that eventually brings the most joy – community, solidarity, friendship and fellowship.
Our preacher recently preached on suffering and said, “Friendships are formed when one person looks at another and says ‘Oh, you too?’ All suffering has a shelf life – our best days are always in our future. Don’t let suffering determine your view of God’s love, let God’s love determine your view on suffering.”
While I would never wish or hope for suffering, I am choosing to be thankful for the experiences we have had, despite the hard times, because of where we are today. Because of the friendships that have come from those times of struggle, and because of the things we have learned, the strengthening of our faith, and the mercy of Christ we have seen in those hard times.
This Christmas season I am especially thankful for the HOPE we have in Christ Jesus and what His birth means for those who truly believe in Him and his saving grace!