He sendeth sun, he sendeth shower,
Alike they're needful for the flower:
And joys and tears alike are sent
To give the soul fit nourishment.
As comes to me or cloud or sun,
Father! thy will, not mine, be done!*
Some people don't like the rain. They mutter and fuss about getting wet or chilled. Personally, I love rainy days. I like to put on my slicker and boots, and then take long walks. Lately I haven't been able to walk as much as I like because of my physical problems, but I still love the rain.
Have you ever noticed that the world looks different in the rain? Colors are more brilliant. The trees and grass are greener; flowers seem to emerge from the ground in an instant. The world is still. The air is pure and sweet. And in the background, the gentle sound of rain.
One of the first art classes I took in college was painting. In that class we studied how all colors look differently depending on the colors that surround them. Do you know why colors seem brighter on a rainy day? Because they are surrounded by gray. Gray sky. Gray clouds. Gray rain falling down. The dull, dark background makes colors pop!
In the same way, you can't experience the bold color of extreme joy unless you've known dull grayness of sorrow. Not that I wish for sorrow, but have you ever thought that our trials and tribulations may be a blessing? Romans 5:3-5 (ESV) says,
"... we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us."
Rejoice in our sufferings? That sounds crazy doesn't it? But look at everything that comes from our pain: endurance, character, hope, and best of all, God's love. If we are His, we are promised that He will never forsake us and never leave us. He only gives us as much as we can handle - another promise.**
A friend of mine had a son with Down's syndrome. He was a beautiful child with sunny blonde hair and a bright smile. But having a special needs child did have its trials. One day she showed me a newspaper clipping that someone had given her after her son was born. I don't remember a lot about the article, but the gist of it was that this child had been given to her because God knew that she was the only one able to care for him. Her son died of complications about a year later and my friend moved away, but I've always wondered if her life is any sweeter because of her son's short life. I know mine is.
As writers, it may seem that our troubles affect us more prominently. (Creative people are more prone to depression for some reason.) But who knows – these trials may be given to us so that we can write about them and help someone else. Have you ever written about something you’ve gone through and found out later that it helped someone? If you have, I’d love to hear about it – feel free to share by leaving a comment.
* Stedman, Edmund Clarence, ed. A Victorian Anthology, 1837–1895. Cambridge: Riverside Press, 1895; Bartleby.com, 2003. www.bartleby.com/246/.
** 1 Corinthians 10:13