In northern Chile, there is a narrow strip of land with majestic views. It lies between the Andes Mountain and the Pacific Ocean. The weather is almost always perfectly sunny. Morning after morning brings a beautiful sunny day to illuminate the towering mountains. Evenings often display incredible sunsets. Even though storms can be seen out in the distance, it almost never rains in this area. This might seem like a paradise, but it’s far from it. In fact, it’s a barren wilderness, a desert. Since there are no streams of water and very little rain, almost nothing grows there.
Often times we long for a life full of sunshine and happiness. We hope to avoid trouble, heartache, and those “rainy days.” However, just as the land needs the occasional downpour to survive, sometimes we need hardship and difficulty. Hardship builds resilience. Difficulty shapes character. Adversary builds endurance. While gloomy and challenging, those rain days actually cause us to grow and strengthen (James 1:2-4).
Even Solomon once said, “It is better to go to a house of mourning than to go to a house of feasting…” (Ecclesiastes 7:2). What an usual statement. Why would he say something like this? The rest of the verse answers the question, “…Because that is the end of every man, and the living takes it to heart” (Ecclesiastes 7:2). In other words, it causes us to focus on the more important things, such as where we are spiritually and where we will go eternally. When life is a party, it’s much easier to get caught up in foolish things and lose focus on God (vs. 4).
Tough times are never fun, but the good news is the rain will eventually stop. It can’t always rain. Psalm 30:5 says, “…Weeping may last for the night, but a shout of joy comes in the morning.” Sunshine will return. Happiness will revisit. And after enduring the tough times, we will have grown stronger and better!