It's hard to be a fun, nice teacher. Misbehavior problems tempt you to become hard and stern.
(It's harder to be a mom. Teachers get to let the children go at the end of the day.)
It's easy to throw your clothes in the washer.
It's hard to wash them by hand in a bucket.
(It's harder when you are on the third day of a 101 degree fever and you've eaten two meals in the last two days.)
It's easy to pour yourself out for kids' enjoyment when you get to give them back at the end of the day.
It's hard when they're around you, 24-7.
It's easy to take a shower in cold water. I often wish it was colder.
It's hard to take a shower with no water.
It's easy to have patience when you understand what's going on.
It's hard when you have no chance of understanding, because even if you understood the language perfectly, the cultural aspects would still be inexplicable.
(It's harder when people take advantage of that fact and maliciously keep you in the dark)
It's easy to keep your house clean when you can close your windows and doors, suck up dust with the vacuum cleaner, fill your mop bucket with running water, and turn on the light to see where you're cleaning.
It's hard to keep your house clean when you constantly have people tracking in and out, gaping openings for dust to come in at every window, ants burrowing their tunnels in the mortar between your tiles, and no water.
(It's harder when you're doing it in the dark by the light of one kerosene lantern.)
How do you respond when things are hard (and then harder)?
Paul was "pressed out of measure, above strength, insomuch that we despaired even of life." (2 Cor 1:8) But his response was a bracing call to the surrendered life:
"But we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves, but in God which raiseth the dead: Who delivered us from so great a death, and doth deliver: in whom we trust that he will yet deliver us." (2 Cor. 1:9-10)
When things are hard, it is an opportunity to rejoice, because God's resurrection power is made that much more available to us.