We can let hard things make us either hard or soft. Which one occurs depends on whether we do these two things: seeking to forgive others, and giving ourselves up to God.
Hard things will happen. We can’t control it. Part of the struggle for us is our natural desire to control what happens. We feel deep disappointment when we can’t – and when we realise that we can’t. We want fairness and good endings, along with smooth paths. But we can’t have them (only).
‘Giving ourselves up to God’ means learning to trust Him completely. Trust in His goodness, power, and wisdom; that He can and will save us, give us grace to deal with our hard things, and that all these uncontrollable things in our lives here won’t destroy us. Trust that He knows what He does when He sends us here, into this messy, hard, scary, unfair world, filled with people making their own choices and the effects of those choices.
When we trust God, in all of this, we act on faith in seeking His will and help – and He heals us. When we seek to forgive people who’ve deeply hurt us, God can both make us able to forgive them, and pour healing into our souls. When we trust in Him, we can meet our challenges and believe that there is beauty ahead; that He will not forsake us, nor leave us comfortless. Our hard things will make our hearts soft and not hard. We will believe that God can do wonders with what appear to us impossible, broken materials; and out of them raise all that we truly desire. We and He want the same thing for ourselves: joy. We might think we can get it from ‘good things’ – from the experiences and circumstances that we want. God knows better. He is the ultimate alchemist, except His goal is not gold, but exultative joy, light, goodness and love. He can turn anything – everything – in our lives into that.