That gal who has time to go to the gym...her life is easy.
That mom who's kids are well-behaved...her life is easy.
That woman who's hair is always styled...her life is easy.
That friend who's husband surprises her with flowers...her life is easy.
That girl who posts such beautiful photos on Facebook...her life must be easier than mine.
Sometimes we rehearse these lies instead of truth to ourselves when the eyes are myopic. In our discontentment we allow ourselves to think that everyone else is having more fun, taking more trips, watching more television, and eating more chocolate.
And maybe they are.
But the simple truth remains: No one's life is truly easy. No one's.
Some might know financial ease, but may suffer loss of another kind. Others might have happy homes but face daily physical and financial challenges. And then, still others may work so hard for the ease they think they need and become enslaved to comfort without realizing it. We simply can't know another's pain or another's struggles by simply looking at how easy her life appears. Suffering, trials, loss, and grief are indiscriminate of one's treasure, position, aptitude, or will.
Psalm 90 reminds us...
Lord, you have been our dwelling place
throughout all generations.
Before the mountains were born
or you brought forth the whole world,
from everlasting to everlasting you are God... (v. 1-2)
...Our days may come to seventy years,
or eighty, if our strength endures;
yet the best of them are but trouble and sorrow,
for they quickly pass, and we fly away... (v. 10)
...Teach us to number our days,
that we may gain a heart of wisdom... (v. 12)
On the off-chance that you, too, might be in a weary season of waiting, working, wanting, and wading through joy and suffering, hope and loss...please, do not be misguided:
No matter what pain we avoid, what treasures we gain, what comfort we secure, what positive thinking we maintain...no matter what ease we find ourselves finally arriving at... Because we live in a fallen world as fallen beings, we will never have the life of ease that our physical bodies crave, this side of heaven.
I set out to bless two Instagram followers last friday with a spontaneous giveaway of my Ephesians 3:20 print. I asked followers to tag someone they wanted to encourage as an entry for both themselves and their friend. What ensued was 260 entries, the majority of which were accompanied by the most heartfelt acknowledgments of one another's trials, suffering, triumphs, and perseverance. Those stories blessed me so greatly to read because they offered a very real picture of women who went beyond what things appear to be, and acknowledged and affirmed one another's difficult journeys.
Of the 260 comments, none proclaimed,
"I tag my friend because her family is perfect!"
"I tag the woman I believe to struggle with nothing!"
"I tag her because everything always works out for her just like she plans!"
Nope. Not one said anything like that. Instead, it was a chorus of praise to the God who does "immeasurably more than we ask or imagine" in the midst of our chaos, or challenges, our pain.
I'm finding such comfort in this: that I'm walking life's journey with no one who is exempt from pain, no one who know not loss, or none who can ultimately overcome the difficulties of real life with comfort and ease.
And so take heart, friends-- not because all suffer-- but because all can bear one another's burdens, past what is seen to the unseen, taking one another to the true comforts of the Cross.
...Satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love,
that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days.
Make us glad for as many days as you have afflicted us,
for as many years as we have seen trouble.
May your deeds be shown to your servants,
your splendor to their children.
May the favor of the Lord our God rest on us;
establish the work of our hands for us—
yes, establish the work of our hands. (Psalm 90:14-17)
Friends, how can YOU replace the lies about another's ease with compassion for another's difficulty?
Because of grace,