When the Hard Just Won’t Go Away

Today was rough. Everything seemed to go not as planned. Anticipating the challenges of lockdown, I intentionally left a dinner ingredient un-bought so I could go to the grocery later (that and pet-walking are the acceptable reasons for going outside, and I don’t have a pet so….). I kept my workout clothes on, knowing that exercise really helps me stay afloat.

The kid’s reticence at every turn (why is it still a surprise that we do school every day?) made the homeschool day stretch all the way until the time for my online language class rolled around. No break to exercise.

An afternoon phone call went past the 5pm grocery store closure. No 5 minute outside walk today.

Sigh. I don’t think it should be this hard. But it feels hard today. We were early adopters in our former home in East Asia last spring. Long before the rest of the world donned face masks, we were enduring the first of many lockdowns. I’m over it.

As I resigned myself to the fact that squeezing in a workout video wasn’t going to happen, I went to the bathroom, presumably to shower, but mostly to cry behind a locked door.

As we entered yet another lockdown last week, God reminded me in a myriad of ways that his plans are “all steadfast love and faithfulness.” Not only can he help us once again, but he could make these days wonderful. These days are in his plans, just as much as the most fun days in the world. But what I don’t always want to accept is that these excruciatingly hard days are often the means through which he wants to teach me some of the richest things.

We are learning to be creative in our habits. We are learning to discipline ourselves toward hard work when we don’t want to. We are working to express hard emotions with maturity. We are striving to serve one another when we don’t really want to. We are choosing gratitude when the bad things seem to overshadow all the good.

Please don’t misunderstand. I am not insinuating that pandemics and lockdowns are good and therefore we should be thankful for them. Disease is grievous and hardships really are hard. I am not thankful for these, but I am thankful that God is present in the middle of it. I am thankful that he also is a God of justice who helps me see these things rightly and also endure that which is hard.

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