I've been thinking of James 1:2 today: "Count it all joy, brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds."
What? Joy? We're supposed to experience joy when facing hard things?
I'm realizing that life's hard things are like God's early Christmas presents.
You know how on Christmas Day when you're six years old, someone hands you cash, and you're secretly thinking, "Umm, okay, but I was kind of hoping for that toy I was telling you about"?
On the other hand, when you're 18 years old, and someone hands you cash for Christmas, it's awesome, because you appreciate it and know exactly how you're going to use it.
Life's hard things are hard to appreciate as gifts until later down the road.
When I was younger, it was riding a bike and eating my vegetables.
Half a year ago, it was finishing high school.
Today, it's registering for classes for spring semester and getting through a really hard college geography course.
These are all God's Christmas presents. While that seems weird now, I'll know that it was good for me later--just like I'm glad now that I ate my vegetables, learned how to ride a bike, and graduated from high school.
Hard things really are blessings--presents, even. It just may take a while to see why.