Have you ever read A Tale of Two Cities? It opens with a line that has become pretty familiar to people… “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…” I don’t know that I’d ever really related to that sentiment more than I can say that I’ve related to it lately..

These past few weeks have brought some hard times.. One of my best friends since like 4th grade is going through a separation/divorce at the moment.. with two small kids.. and I really can’t say that I know or even can imagine what she’s going through. Another friend is going through a big mess with her family and the law and all.. and she also just lost a dear pet a day or two ago.. Still another friend just had a biopsy done this past week to make sure this lump of something on his neck wasn’t cancerous. (It wasn’t, thankfully.)

So many are going through hard times right now. I feel so helpless about it all, like there has to be something I could do to help. I know I can pray for them, and I am.. but sometimes even though prayer is the best thing I could ever contribute, I feel as though I am almost taking the “easy” way out. I think sometimes a lot of people say they’ll pray for people just because they know they have to say something, but they don’t really want to.. so.. they say “well, I’ll pray for you!” Prayer becomes an excuse, and I don’t want it to ever be an excuse in my life. I believe prayer to be so important, and so practical. But we have to be willing to do more when we can. And.. right now I’m feeling like I should be able to do more, even though I can’t. If that makes any sense…

It even makes me feel kind of guilty, because my life looks so much different than their lives right now.. I know that shouldn’t make me feel guilty, but.. it almost does. Somehow, my life at this moment looks to me like it must look so “easy” and “good” to them all. I want to praise God in the “good” times, but I also want to praise Him in the storms, when it looks like things are never going to clear up. That is what a life lived for God really looks like. It’s what I want my life to look like.

And you know.. even in the hard times, I can look around me and see all that God has blessed me with.. and life is good.

God is good.. so life is good. What more is there to say? He makes everything beautiful in its time. (Ecclesiastes 3:11)

He is always with us.. that is reason enough for joy and contentment, knowing that when we live for Him, trusting Him even when we might not really feel like it, He is going to bless that. It is when we cannot see the next step and we trust Him as we step out in faith — not knowing what that step entails, but just trusting that there is a step there and that He has it in His control — it is then that we grow in our faith in God. It is then that we shine and others see God in us and in our lives. I want to live a life of worship to Him.

As I live my life to follow Christ, I am learning so much that even when things don’t go our way, keeping our joy and smile is so important, because others are watching us.. It is a part of reaching out and sharing His love as much as it is a part of praising Him. Keeping the right attitude is so important and even crucial; otherwise, we are hypocrites.. and that turns people off instead of drawing them in and causing them to wonder what we have that makes us live with a constant joy.

Prayer is important. Really important. But we can’t let it become an excuse for not doing something else too. If we use it as an excuse.. then we are just the same as the people who walked right by the guy on the side of the road.. We have to be like the Samaritan who stopped and actually helped the man. I’m sure he would have prayed for him too, but he didn’t let that stop him from helping him physically too. We have to put feet on our faith.. because actions really do speak louder than words.

Anyway.. yeah.. life is good. Not because of anything I have done, but because of God. It might be the “best” of times.. and it might be the “worst” of times. Either way..

God is good. And so life is good.