Hardship isn’t the end of the story, nor is it the end of your story. This is easy to agree with when you’re experiencing smooth sailing. It’s harder to do so when times are tough.
William Gurnall has some helpful, scriptural perspective:
“Scripture gives three illustrations of great joy: the joy of a new mother, the joy of a prosperous farmer, and the joy of a successful soldier. The exultation of all three is harvested from hard soil. It costs the travailing woman great pain, the farmer many month of backbreaking labor, and the soldier grave peril, before they come to their reward. But at last they are paid in full. And it is a peculiar attribute of sorrow that its past remembrance so often adds a sweetness to our present joy.”*
I think that’s very helpful. The difficulty of pregnancy and giving birth, and of farming, and of a soldier in battle, looks forward to something good—a new baby, a bountiful crop, and victory for the nation.
And so it is in life. Hardship and sorrow are a significant part of life, but not the only part, and certainly not the defining part.
As Paul reminds us in Romans 8:28: “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” Good through bad, joy through sorrow, and hope beyond the cloudiness of darker days.
When we are living in the footsteps of Jesus, hardship and sorrow are doorways which lead not to the edge of a cliff, but to a new, brighter day.
Stay the course.
–Bible quotes are from the NIV.
–*William Gurnall, ed. James S. Bell Jr., The Christian in Complete Armour (Chicago: Moody Press, 1984), entry for Mar 10.