No doubt about it. This journey on earth is inundated with trials and tribulations…stress, sorrow, pain, illness, heartache, and more. As long as we live trouble will be there to greet us. Job reminds us , “Man that is born of a woman is of few days, and full of trouble.” (Job 14:1) Okay…we can all agree….our time on earth is quite short and full of grief. This is a given.
Some trials are powerfully difficult indeed. Seeing your folks pass on or losing a loved one ranks among the most heart wrenching trials. Losing a child would…well…there are no words to describe this sort of pain. I can imagine it is hundred times worse than any other. Then there are the ordinary things to deal with like illnesses, financial struggles, unemployment, relationship issues, chronic pain, difficulties at work. Even more ordinary…..problems with children…struggling learners, disobedience, disagreements, and all that goes with family life. Even more ordinary… losing things, traffic, housework, the telephone ringing all day… more struggling. Does it ever end? Not in our lifetime.
What about the good times. When do they come? Indeed, life has so much joy as well. New babies added to a family are probably a highlight…holiday gatherings can be really wonderful. Then there are the ordinary days when great things happen such as finally learning to ride a bike without training wheels, learning to swim, to read…understanding difficult math concepts. Now this is a reason to celebrate…perhaps with a bowl of ice-cream. 🙂 Sharing a meal together, cooking together and making music together. Ordinary family life can bring such joy and peace sometimes. So we agree that life will offer good and bad days…both joy and sorrow.
Do you remember reading the story Old Yeller? Remember the boy Travis and his old yeller dog? He grew to love that dog more than anything else in the world. Remember how he felt when he had to shoot Old Yeller because the dog contracted rabies? Travis was destroyed and completely torn up by this. He said it was just as if he was shooting one of his own folks. Travis didn’t care about anything anymore…He didn’t even want to care about the new horse that his dad brought him. He did not want to have joy again. I love the conversation between Travis and his very wise Papa at the end of this story.
Here’s what Papa says to Travis after he lost his dog: ”It’s not a thing you forget. I don’t guess it’s a thing that you ought to forget. What I mean is, things like that happen. They may seem mighty cruel and unfair, but that’s how life is part of the time. But that isn’t the only way life is. A part of the time, it’s mighty good. And a man can’t afford to waste all the good part, worrying about all the bad parts. That makes it all bad...You understand?”
Travis’ papa understood what Job understood. Life is short and full of troubles. We better try to be happy during the good times. We had better not dwell too long on bad times or our lives will be all bad…all the time.
Proverbs 17:22 A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones.