The Gift of Contrast: Beauty in Our Struggles

Without darkness, we cannot have light. Without evil, we cannot know good. Sometimes, it’s hard to define a thing until you have another thing strikingly different to compare it to.

The gift of contrast, I guess you could say, is that it reveals truth. Day isn’t really day except by name until it’s contrasted by night. Joy isn’t really true joy until you’ve known sorrow.

As I was picking out my outfit last weekend, a black and white top caught my eye. I love black and white; I love contrast. Whenever I see black and white together, I’m reminded of how the world works. The harder we work, the more we enjoy the weekend. The greater the struggle, the more grateful we are for the payoff. The bigger the storm, the more beautiful the rainbow. It would be hard to appreciate sunny days if we had never experienced a cloudy one. Likewise, how could we truly appreciate a blessing if we didn’t know what pain was?

Sometimes I wonder if I would truly have the same appreciation for the love I have in my life if I hadn’t gone through a season of complete and total aloneness.

I’m not ashamed to say that I was once a broken person. It’s because of those struggles, however, I am truly grateful for the life I have today. I thank the Lord for where I am now, and every time I do, I have the memory, the stark contrast of the person I used to be and the life that once was mine. This is not to say that I am necessarily more grateful than someone who had a smaller number of struggles in life. It is to say this: overcoming our biggest struggles can sometimes be our biggest blessing when it pushes us further into gratitude.

One of the ways we as humans are able to appreciate God’s goodness is by the stark contrast of the fallen world we live in—His light shining through our darkness.

Do you ever wonder why we’re here? Why must we go through this thing we call life and death instead of simply existing with God. “Because Eve ate the apple!” You might say. It goes deeper than that, though. We’re here so that through our struggles, we can find our way back to God, back to Eden. Through our struggles, we can learn to rely on Him. We’re here to learn how to remember what deep down we already know: we are nothing without Him, and we cannot do it alone.

Sometimes I wonder if my relationship with God would be as strong as it is if I hadn’t endured struggles, if I didn’t depend on His goodness and peace to sustain me and get me through hard times. I don’t believe it would be. I don’t believe anyone’s would be.

Everyone has struggles. My hope for you is this: the next time you feel darkness come upon you, give it to God. Let Him fill you with light. Take a deep breath, and let go. Let go knowing God is good, our pain is only temporary, and things are just as they should be. We are all here for good times and bad, pain and rebirth. We are here so that one day we may remember the contrast of darker days. The beauty in our struggles is in the stark contrast of our pain to God’s love.

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