It only seems natural to hope for seasons and circumstances that are relatively normal and problem-free. However, I'm learning that I'd rather have larger, rarer difficulties in my life than constant normalcy. Don't get me wrong, I'm not requesting a life of exhaustion that could be written into a major motion picture.  I think God gives us all times of respite for recovery after a storm. Because we live in a fallen world, hardships are simply part of life. Every single person will face problems, big and small, and if you live long enough, trying to avoid all things negative or difficult is an impossibility. Although, when problems arrive in the form of a familiar package, like minor health blimps on the radar, financial strains on the bank account, uncertain future employment, or relationship tensions, I begin to feel more stress, anxiety, and frustration than if a problem suddenly appears without notice or warning in an oversized, abnormal box. Yes there are similar emotions at first, even if shock covers a few for a time, but my natural response to the two different boxes after fully exploring the contents is very different.
I think when problems are more common, it is easy for me to think I have some sort of control over the outcome. I begin to hunt for solutions, look for the most knowledgeable person on the subject, and carry the burden on my own two shoulders, which inevitably creates less sleep, more stress, and a tiresome toil. Yet when the problem is life-changing, I begin to see my very human inabilities. I am humbled to the point of peace. I am speechless to the point of quiet simplicity. I begin to draw close to what really matters and find joy in trusting faith.
For this reason, I see the true gift of certain hardships. While I don't wish for shocking uneasy packages to arrive on my doorstep any time soon, I do truly hope that I can respond to any size problem with humble and quiet trust, seeing the good in experiencing God so closely. I do not want a life of ease where I begin to slip into lukewarm joy. Such an existence lends itself to create problems in order to feel something hotter or colder, and self-induced problems, I believe, are the worst kind. May I never let life's daily irritations become a source of strain for it is the narrow less-beaten path that leads to true life.

Don't let the huge smiles fool you. We all face hard days, these sweet happy boys included. But those days pass away, and these moments are blissfully burned in memories.

"What do people get for all the toil and anxious striving with which they labor under the sun? All their days their work is grief and pain; even at night their minds do not rest. This too is meaningless. A person can do nothing better than to eat and drink and find satisfaction in their own toil. This too, I see, is from the hand of God, for without him, who can eat or find enjoyment?" -- Ecc. 2:22-25

~Counterintuitive Buster