“We must go through many hardships to enter the kingdom of God,” they said. (Acts 14:22)

JANIE CAN HEAR HER new baby stirring, but she doesn’t want to crawl out of bed. The baby lets out a cry. Her husband turns to whisper to Janie, “Go back to sleep. I’ll get up with her this time.” She sighs deeply and then begins crying herself. Janie is a mother of three small children, and she suffers from postpartum depression.

Postpartum depression is nothing new to Janie. She suffered from it with her other two children, so she was not surprised that along with the third birth came the illness that had haunted her before. She knows the routine. Get the prescription, and before long start feeling like herself. She knows she will get better, but during moments like this she can’t help but feel only despair. These were supposed to be some of the happiest moments of her life. However, a darkness she cannot escape by herself has robbed her of the joy of those moments.

She and her husband speak frequently about her battle with depression, and he reminds her what it says in Acts 14:22: “We must go through many hardships to enter the kingdom of God.” Although Paul and Barnabas were talking about persecution in this passage, Janie’s husband reassures her that entrance to the kingdom of God is not easy. Afflictions should not come as a surprise, and the kingdom is still in sight.

Reflect on how the fullness of God’s kingdom is revealed in hardships.

Amy Knepp is a graduate of Indiana Wesleyan University and is a stay-at-home mother of four children.