I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead. Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.

Philippians 3:10-12

Life is hard

Life is hard.

It is hard for my 3 year old who says “everyone runs faster than me,” when he plays sports at the Y.  It is hard for parents to raise their children with respectable values.  It is hard for the people who lose their home, job, spouse, health.  It is hard for those who don’t have a roof over their heads.  It is hard for the hungry, the abused, the scared.

There are plenty of levels of hard, but we are all touched by it.

I tell friends, loved ones and strangers, that if they follow God’s plan they will be blessed.  They will be.  However, that does not mean they will get the guy (or girl), have 2.5 children, live lives free of disease, be sheltered from the storms of life whether real or theoretical.  They may not see their blessings here on earth.  They will see them in eternity if they truly stay on the Lord’s path.

That is hard, too.  It is hard to know that your heart’s desire may not be God’s plan for you.  It is hard to live facing death, illness or heartache of any kind.

Jesus never told us it would be easy.  He never promised happiness.  He did tell us He would walk through life with us…through the good and the bad.  Can you even imagine?  We get so wrapped up in our own woes of life, can you imagine living through them AND living through every other person’s journey who ever lived or will ever live?  I don’t know about you, but I think it is harder at times to watch others go through life’s hardships than to go through them on my own.  Jesus left perfection, came to earth, experienced life as a full human…suffered physically, emotionally and spiritually.  He did it all FOR US and now He continues to walk through it all WITH US.  What an amazing gift!

I know I am spoiled, abundantly blessed and cannot even comprehend the pains of others.  But I also know that we need to choose joy.  In the midst of sorrow we need joy, in the pits of life we need joy, in the trenches of pain we need joy.  It brings me back to what my pastor preached on a few weeks ago.  Joy is a choice and we need to choose it.  We are blessed and need to spread our blessings to others.

My three year old was sad today at the Y.  He needed a pep talk from mommy…he needed some tough love from mommy.  Afterwards, he chose to run in the opposite direction of everyone else, in his own little world with a huge smile on his face.  He didn’t play flag football at all the way he was “supposed to” but he did choose to play and he did choose joy.  My friends and family have faced and continue to face terrible burdens in their lives.  They choose to follow God’s path.  They choose joy.  That doesn’t make their lives perfect, but they live their life for the Lord.  People halfway around the world that have nothing in terms of “stuff,” gather together to worship and experience perhaps the most authentic joy this life has to offer.  According to our standards they are poor, in terms of eternity, they are rich beyond compare.

Life is hard, God is strong.  Follow Him, choose joy, you will be blessed.