There's a meme going around the Interwebs that shows a stick figure on a bicycle, moving from left to right and from down to up in a smooth arc.
Right below that there is another stick figure on a bike, but the path from left to right is not a smooth down-to-up transition. There are enormous valleys, huge dips, crevasses and although the upward motion continues, it is visibly a slower and more difficult route.
The first one is labeled My Plan for My Life and the other is labeled, God's Plan.
And old Yiddish Proverb says, Man Proposes, God Disposes.
Is it really God that shakes our snowglobe and causes the downpour? Or is it the choices we make in life that take us in certain directions where there is bound to be bitter storms and dangerous paths? And how can we remain calm in the face of such furious winds that threaten to, if not destroy us physically, mortally wound us spiritually and emotionally?
I do not believe that God's plan for us is to be miserable. There's a reason it's called The Plan of Happiness, and it was crafted by a loving parent to help us return to Him.
However, when dark storms are raging, it is difficult to see the dawn.
I fully admit that there have been times when I have been literally and metaphorically brought to my knees by some painful twist or turn along what I had thought would be a less-jarring bike ride through life. Life is messy. It's not sanitized for your protection---it's messy for a reason--to cause you to grow in ways you never thought possible.
Sometimes it's the actions or decisions of others that have a negative impact on you or on a great many people. Through no fault of your own, the storm arrives gift wrapped on your doorstep. Other times it is your own actions or decisions that bring calamity calling. Either way, you cannot refuse delivery. As I've told my children when they complain, Life is not Fair.
I am grateful for my faith in a loving Father in Heaven, who knows me and knows what storms rage around me. While I am not always thankful for the storms, it does help me appreciate the bright sunshine at dawn all the more.