"Think of your sufferings as a weaning from that old sinful habit of always expecting to get your own way." (1 Peter 4:1, The Message).
Remember the old country western classic -- "I beg your pardon; I never promised you a rose garden. Along with the sunshine, there's got to come a little rain some time." I can't help but wonder if there are times when Jesus picks up a trusted six string and belts this one out from the clouds of glory to His "naming-claiming-gabbing-grabbing kids."
"Oh hallelujah!" we say, when things are going great and good. The stock market is up and increasing everyday; blessings abound in every part of life; no problems, no worries, not setbacks, no struggles, no grief.
"Glory to God in the highest returns on my investments!"
But wait a minute. Didn't Jesus say that in this world we would have trouble. Yes, and that He would be with us through it all. Sometimes the Lord opens the back door on our happy estate and all sorts of things start going wrong. It's at that moment we discover where our faith and affections really stand.
Sometimes grief is a good thing. And the genius of good grief is that, once it trims away the fat and fluff of pretentious and superficial living, we become more able to live out our days free to pursue what God wants instead of being tyrannized by what we thought we wanted.