I attend a mom's group called MOPS which stands for "Mother's of Preschoolers." It is such a great group of women and has been a huge encouragement to me the last few years. Every other week we have a special speaker and yesterday was no exception. A woman came and spoke about thankfulness. We have all heard this speech many times over the years and it's always a good reminder however this woman had a slightly different spin on it. She was talking to us about being thankful for the good things in our lives AND the bad things. Hmm...thankful for the bad, haven't heard that one too often. She was saying how we need to be thankful for the hard times in our lives because of how they change us and make us better and stronger women. The bad times give us power in our faith because we can look back and see how God carried us through and how we made it to the other side. I am sure every person right now could think of a very difficult time in their life, and although they would never wish to relive it, can now look back and see how God provided for them through it. God provides through friendships, through financial means, through family support, through the kindness of strangers. There are so many ways that He is there for us through those hard times, we just don't often see it until they have passed.
A few years ago my husband and I were going through a very difficult time financially. It was November and he was working for a 100% commision job and I was a school teacher at a small christian school. We were living as bare as we could and still not making ends meet until one night when our car got reposessed due to not making payments. I was scared, frustrated, and very unsure about our future. I remember after the repo guys left, my husband and I went up to our room and got on our knees and just prayed together. We knew there was literally nothing else we could do and we had to leave it all in God's hands. The next day I went to school and my Principal called me to her office. She gave me a check for over $2000 to help cover our bills. It turned out that a friend of mine who was also a teacher there had talked to her about our situation and they had gotten all the teachers from the whole campus to donate money. I was shocked. Then on the way home my husband told me that a friend of ours had given us a check for $1600 with no strings attached. They just felt God leading them to do it. That $3600 was the exact amount of money that we needed, to the dollar, to catch up on every bill that we had including car payments and getting our car back. We started that January of the new year completely current on everything and two months later my husband got a great new salaried job.
Romans 5:4 says, "Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope."
Like this verse, that suffering time really did develop perseverance, character, and hope in us. We have had many more financial struggles since then but we always look back to that time and remember how God took care of us. And we know to be thankful in the good and thankful in the bad because in the end, all that matters is that we are being built into the people that He created us to be.