55. Every day of life is worth living, even if we are suffering.

When times are good, be happy; but when times are bad, consider this: God has made the one as well as the other. {Ecclesiastes 7:14}

Something inside me changed the first time I read Miracle in the Andes by Nando Parrado, the firsthand account of the young men who eventually climbed over the Andes mountains to freedom after their plane had crashed and they had been given up for dead. Here is an excerpt that floored me the first time I read it:

“Many of the younger boys were weakening, especially Moncho Sabella, but Arturo and Rafael were the worst off, by far. Although he had suffered terribly from the first minute of the crash, Rafael had lost none of his fighting spirit. He remained courageous and defiant, and he still began every day with a loud proclamation of his intention to survive, a brave gesture from which we all drew strength. Arturo, on the other hand, had grown even quieter and more introspective than usual, and when I sat with him now, I sensed he was nearing the end of his fight . . . ‘Nando, I want you to remember, even in this place, our lives have meaning. Our suffering is not for nothing. Even if we are trapped here forever, we can love our families, and God, and each other as long as we live. Even in this place, our lives are worth living.’”

That courageous boy was able to articulate a deep, deep truth—that every day of life is worth living, even if we are suffering. Life doesn’t lose its worth when we travel through dark and painful times; on the contrary, when people have walked through tragedy and suffering, they often come out on the other side with a deeper appreciation for the miracle of life.

If Jesus was speaking the truth when He said that the substance of eternal life was an intimate relationship with God, then that is something that transcends our immediate circumstances. It would mean that the value of our life when it is “good” is in the fact that we are experiencing it in the context of a relationship with God. Likewise, all the days that hold suffering and tragedy would have the same value if we are experiencing them in the context of a relationship with God.

He is not only there on the “good” days. He is right there with us in the midst of all the suffering as well. That’s what makes every day of life worth living, even if we are suffering.

If you want to dig deeper—
John 16:33
Romans 8:18
2 Corinthians 4:8-11, 17
1 Peter 5:10