What do we do when things are going very well? There is an old adage (of Roman times I believe) that claims “Hard times make tough men, tough men make good times, good times make weak men, and weak men make hard times.”
While we have had our issues over the past twenty years, I am convinced that we have experienced relatively good times. Even our poorest in this country have much, our wealthiest are living in such comfort and ease it reads like a fantasy. The average family has enough to eat and money left over for extraneous things. Generosity from the American people has been incredible. Times have been predominantly good.
However, these last three months have rapidly accelerated into hard times, and it looks like it will only get worse before it gets better. I do not want to make little of those suffering worse, their pain is greater than ours who are simply stuck at home and learning to adjust. People are dying, and their families are wading through a mire of sadness and loss while I sit in my recliner and write on a full belly and a content disposition.
But, as a society we are being forced to adjust and live differently, and I am of the opinion that it is a good thing. We have begun to examine our priorities, to consider what really matters, and to cherish those most important to us. These are good things. We are arguing less over the silly and pointless and are reaching out to our neighbors and children and ensuring their care. We are not debating as much as we are spending time investing in those we love, this is a good thing.
I am no prophet and, as my wife likes to remind me, know very little in the grand scheme of things. I would argue here that this hardship and trial we are facing is for our benefit. It is certainly not the greatest trial man has ever faced, but these somewhat hard times will help make us tougher people. We are seeing what matters more clearly. To reference another article in this paper, I believe our local stores will be sold out of canning jars this summer. People will learn to prepare for tough times that will inevitably come again. We will become less dependent on organizations that have failed us in this hard time.
What do we do in hard times? We get tougher, we grow closer, and endure. This ultimately is the American way, it is a good way. It is not the first time we have faced tough times, and it will not be the last. We will get tougher and better times will come; life will go on. If you read this and think it does not really apply to you, I ask you to examine what is really important. Hold close to your family and friends, and learn to be ready for other hard times. These are good things.
Morgan McKinniss is a former reporter for Ohio Valley Publishing and currently pastor at Good News Baptist Church in Gallipolis, Ohio. Viewpoints expressed in the article are the work of the author.