I praise the Lord for laughter's music filling hearts with joy. The joy that finds its birth from the deep places in my heart; which like seeds planted deep in dark, earthy soil, also grow up into lovely blooming blossoms of vibrant flowers. Yes, the joy that springs from the hard things of life: sad goodbyes, lonely heart aches, weariness of body and soul, difficulties with people, interruptions, changes in the plans, sickness, challenges that loom so tall, hopes lost, and a zillion other hard things that God uses to show me His love and show me how much I need His love.
Why so much "hard"? Because the hard drives me to the Lord, and that is the best place to be; so God is loving me in giving me the hard things for it is His way of drawing me into His warm embrace!
The hard things of life turn my eyes to Heaven. The lonely, heavy silences open my ears to the echoing praises in Glory reminding me that I am not yet Home. I feel Heaven's longing in me as I sit in the sad quietness and feel my soul's cry for more---for life without goodbyes, life where things only get better and brighter, and for that wondrous moment when I shall see Jesus face to face! Until that day, the hard can be the wind to blow me to Christ's sweet side...if in thanksgiving I turn my sails to be carried along by its current and into God's love be plunged!
The hard teaches me obedience as I surrender to God's plan in thanksgiving. His ways do not make sense the way I would like or unfold, neatly cookie cutter lives as I have in my own plans for myself. Yet what I see is that God's ways cut away at all the pretty, wrapping paper of "godliness" that I wrap my heart with and penetrates deep to show me my sin and expose the idols of my heart that I do not even realize are there. This is God's wisdom and kindness in my life to discipline me as a father disciplines a child, and the hard is the beautiful tool of discipline in His hands uncovering my sin so that I can repent and turn from my sin and draw ever closer to my Heavenly Father.
The hard things in my life are gifts of mercy and grace from God in that they always ensure to keep me in a place of seeing my need of Him. As my heart feels overwhelmed by the hard, I am squeezed, pushed, pressured, and prodded until the only place I have to look is up. When God gives me the hard things of life, he is giving me a precious opportunity to learn to depend upon Him. As I find my own soul grappling with hard things, I am given the choice of praising God for giving me the gift of feeling my desperate need of Him...and in the soil of thanksgiving joy blooms victorious.