Be Grateful for Hardships

A preview from Mornings with Jesus 2015 to help you see the difficulties as important milestones on life's path.

By Susanna Foth Aughtmon, Redwood City, California.

As appeared in

“Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow.” James 1:2–3 (NLT)

Last night I was reading an article that focused on being grateful for the difficulties of life. The hard places. The struggles. The disappointments. They offer an opportunity for change, for overcoming, for a shift in worldview.

A Pulitzer-prize winning author who had been diagnosed with melanoma took the diagnosis as a sign to pour his life into helping others with melanoma by organizing runs for research. I read that and thought, “Huh.”  Because mostly, I am thankful for the things in my life that are good, easy and uplifting. The hard things? Not so much.

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But he says that the struggles are like the contrast in a painting that shows off the good in our lives. We can say, “This time was incredibly difficult. But I made it through. And look at the beauty that can still be found in my life.”

We may not welcome troubles but we can welcome what Jesus can do with them. Here are a few hard things I am grateful for: the experience of having a broken heart... because it showed me how amazing real love is. The rejections that I got for my fiction children’s books... they started me on the path of writing adult nonfiction.

The downward spiral I fell into in my college years; it sent me running back into the grace-filled arms of Jesus. But mostly, I am grateful for the rock solidness of Jesus and the love of the people He has given me. I could have never gotten through the hard things without them.

Faith Step: Write your own hard gratitude list. Thank Jesus for what He has taught you in the midst of  your struggles.