Have you ever thought that lots of bad stuff was happening to you all at once? I’ve had many conversations with friends who have the same perception as I sometimes do: why is all this bad stuff happening all at once?!
It is interesting that I rarely verbalize the opposite: why is all this good stuff happening all at once? If you’re like me, you tend to take the smooth highway for granted, but the potholes on the backroads of life quickly get your attention.
Philosophers and theologians have debated why bad stuff happens to good people for years (usually we figure “bad people” deserve the bad stuff but luckily we don’t think ourselves in that category). I have seen less debate on why good stuff happens to good people, although we do get perturbed when seemingly rotten people seem to be enjoying great luck.
We talk about “dumb luck” but lately I’ve become interested in what I’ve come to call “informed misfortune.” You can do everything right and still have stuff turn out wrong. Lots of us followed what we thought was sane, sensible and prudent advice about how to invest our savings, yet the market demonstrated that even the informed can get hammered by a downturn regardless of the advice they’ve followed (and a few can do it all wrong and still somehow get it right). You can be a terrific employee, but if they close your office, it doesn’t seem to count for much. And as I’ve mentioned before, I know some terrific parents who had kids that didn’t turn out, well, too terrific.
Our senses are acute during the difficult seasons of life, so the suffering seems more intense, undeserved and clumped together than the times when we’re enjoying peace and prosperity. My dear and departed friend Charlie Jones used to remind me that everyone’s life is cyclic, and that downturns are inevitable. That is hard to remember when you’re doing well, but comforting to know in times of challenge.
Different seasons bring different blessing and challenges. Even the weather is more predictable than the timing and duration of the seasons of life. It is hard to remember that the difficult seasons offer as much or more opportunity for introspection and growth than do the good times.
It is important to remember that regardless of whatever season you are currently in, this too shall pass. It is the nature of seasons…