Life has a way of slowing us down and forcing us to learn the hard lessons for which we would never have made time.  

We all want, or at least should want, to continue to become better and stronger people, better and stronger Christians. The desire for a better life for us and for our loved ones seems built deeply into our being.  We want to “get ahead.”  And there is nothing wrong with that in and of itself.

But there are hard lessons that we can only learn through hard times.  These are the lessons that build and season our character with grace, humility and compassion.  They make it possible for us to “rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep.” (Rom 12:15 NASB).  They make it possible for us to understand and empathize with others.  It is in the hard times that all of the other life lessons become set in stone.

I confess that for the majority of my life I have been a “why-me-er”.  I’ve experienced a fair amount of difficulties in my life.  But until recently I hadn’t truly begun to learn from those difficulties.  For example, I suffer from chronic migraine.  The only time I do not have pain is when I am asleep.  Not long ago, I believe the Lord spoke to me saying, “embrace your pain.”  Since that time, I have begun to be filled with compassion for others rather than being focused on myself.  Anyone who knows me would tell you that I still have a ways to go, but I’m moving forward.  2 Cor. 1:3-4 says that God “comforts us in all our affliction so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God” (NASB).

Learn, with grace, to find the Lord’s sweetness in the difficult times in life.  Embrace your pain so that you may lovingly embrace others who are hurting.  At least that’s what I think.

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