The reason I am so concerned about the way I update people is because I don't want this situation to misguide their understanding of how we are doing. We do not feel like we don't "deserve" this. We don't feel like this is meaningless. We don't feel like this has done anything but bless us.
When you sign up for the Christian life, you sign up for suffering. We "deserve" only justice and wrath yet, the Lord gives us more good things than we can even see. In suffering, we are nearer to Jesus. We feel a bit of the pain he felt on the cross and we are humble enough to see the ways He is working.
The honesty of the Christian life is that suffering is real but through Jesus we aren't dependent on health, wealth, or prosperity to make us happy. This isn't just an easy to answer. We are truly joyful even as we lack sleep, even as he is getting poisoned, even when we get unfavorable results. And there is no explanation aside from the peace and strength of Jesus.
We don't want any of this to cause people to feel sorry for us but, to lead them back to Jesus. For we are far happier than we "deserve".
Let the suffering be real.
Let the blessings be real.
His purposes will ripen fast,
Unfolding every hour;
The bud may have a bitter taste,
But sweet will be the flower.
- William Cowper