A couple years ago, our six-year-old daughter came home from school and announced, “Miss H. says she’s not tying any more shoes after Christmas.” Which meant we had better start practicing! “David started to fuss and whine about needing help with his shoes, and Miss H. said, ‘David, life is full of hard things.’ That’s what she says all the time.” Miss H. is a wise woman. I’ve often thought of her simple and straightforward words to little David and pondered how they really are a lesson for all of life. Life is full of hard things. You have to learn to tie your own shoes, make your own bed, study hard, cook meals, care for sick children, work for a living, and deal with the various thorns and thistles of life.
This reality raises the question of how we deal with such hardships when they arise. Will we shut down in discouragement when things do not go our way or persevere in faith through whatever trial is on our path? In Elisabeth Elliot’s classic book Keep a Quiet Heart, she reminds us, “When Paul and Silas were in prison, they prayed and sang. It isn’t troubles that make saints, but their response to troubles.”
Christians are not exempt from troubles. In fact, we’re promised troubles for the very fact that we follow Christ (John 15:20). Yet often, our responses to the trials in our lives reveal that we think we deserve something better.
We’re looked over for a promotion and automatically think the worst of our bosses and the seemingly unqualified person who got the job instead. Or we’re mocked for our faith in the workplace and respond with resentment — toward our co-workers as well as the God who seemed to let us down.