All we have endured will not be wasted. We are a whole picture, and all that has been woven into our story before will add to the whole. Nothing will be wasted.
For the mistakes and troubles and heartbreaks and missteps and dark periods in our lives, we often raise the questions as to the quality of the whole. Whilst suffering through rougher periods of marriage and work, difficulty raising our children, suffering loss of family and friends, or just wondering why we are where we are in life instead of where we thought we would be, it's easy to ask if our lives have come to something wholly unhealthy or wasted, questioning if we're headed in the right direction, and often if we're of any of the value we hoped to be when we were younger.
Truth is, your story isn't over yet, and these dark periods as much make the tapestry being woven as the brighter parts. Imagine a painting with contrasting colors and across its canvas, a message of life. The dark areas do not ruin the painting, they define the hope and growth of the lighter areas. Without these troubled times, for however much we might wish this weren't the case, we would not truly appreciate the better times for the value they truly are.
Enduring hardship is not fun or noble in and of itself, but the growth, development and deepening of your spirit can be the hallmark of your life and how you add your life to others, how you conduct your relationships and how you deal with future hardships.
We don't like these times. We'd prefer we could just have the good things in life, but life isn't necessarily good or bad, merely somewhat difficult and very difficult. We can make what today seems very difficult into tomorrow's not-so-difficult, and yes, there's very likely to be something else that proves very difficult when we get there, but that should illustrate something to you, especially for those of you who can't seem to figure out why life doesn't get easier: You will always be in a relative position where some things are easy and other things are hard.
For those on the bottom rung, that's no encouragement, and many might point to the relative easy of life for the rich. In some regards, absolutely, life is easier. But the rich have their own issues they hide very well, and to them seem as emotionally wrenching as the difficulties you face. In comparison, their troubles seem trivial, and not being a rich person, I think most of their problems are damnright silly. However, to THEM, these troubles can seem terrifying and emotional.
The point is not that the rich shouldn't get grounded -- they absolutely should -- but pain and trouble are relative. The emotional troubles someone else faces, regardless of where they are in their life can seem to them as painful as what you endure. We all stand on different steps of this great staircase of life and we cannot quickly compare how "my pain" is worse or better than "their pain."
What am I trying to say?
Contentment is the path to peace, and the ability to step back from the immediate pain of today's difficulties can open your eyes to the temporary nature of that pain. We all endure dark periods -- and some of us endure longer periods than others -- but understanding how darkness can define the light can bring a whole new perspective to your life.
If you're not sure how to see the trouble for what it is, begin looking for stories of people who have endured what you have endured and have come out the other side better than before. Listen to their wisdom about what caused their difficulty and how they solved first the brokenness in themselves and how they applied those lessons to changing their circumstances.
Then you have to ask yourself if you want to continue any particular cycle in your life (if you have them) and what you can do to overcome it. If it's a single moment, such as a cancer that doesn't often recur, apply the lessons of others who endured and came out the better for it.
Your life is a tapestry, a painting, a black and white photo. These difficult times are GOOD for you. It doesn't mean these times are GOOD, but they can be of benefit to you by spurring you from the easy sameness of easy times to the evolution and growth of tomorrow. Please, don't despair. Your life is a picture, and such darkness can be of great value by framing the light, if you are willing to employ it as such.