You know what’s hard? Living out this verse:
1 Peter 1:6-7
In this you greatly rejoice though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith – of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire – may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honour when Jesus Christ is revealed.
Ah… to appreciate the difficult things in life. It’s quite the struggle I have. And I’m not talking about skunks, blizzards or paper cuts. I’m talking about loving people who are difficult to love. I wouldn’t exactly categorize this as “suffering” though I would be lying if I haven’t called it that before.
We all have our areas of weaknesses. And for me, I have a real struggle with loving “the unlovable”.
Thankfully for us, God allows us to love. He gives us the ability to love. Without Him, I simply cannot even begin to love people. And very often, I forget that I have this ability. So I go on harbouring all these bitter feelings of resentment that it actually begins eating me alive. We’ve been told before that Christ sets us free. Well it’s so true when it comes to something like this. I’ve lived in resentment before and I know it leads to nowhere except more anger and more tears. You feel constricted, like you can’t breathe. All you can think about is how unfair your situation is, how horrible that person is. But what I’ve learned (and am re-learning), is all it takes is that one step of giving up your pride and all those thoughts of “this is so unfair!” and asking God to exchange it for love. You do that, and you feel so wonderfully free. You receive peace and you’re reminded all over again – this God that I serve is a God of love. The bitterness disappears as I ask Him to help me to see people through His eyes and to love them as He loves them. It is freedom and it makes me want to weep.
Faith is reinforced and strengthened through suffering. Choosing to rely on God rather than oneself is faith. Choosing to love rather than to hate is faith. Choosing to surrender when all I want is to fight – is faith.
Suffering is a topic that I’ve been exploring for the past little while. Stories like Hannah in the Bible and the Widow of Zarephath fascinate me. It makes my own troubles seem utterly insignificant. Seeing how these women put everything they had on the line simply because of pure faith is so admirable to me. And because of their faith, God blessed them with more than they had ever dreamed of. Not only that, but their faith grew and was strengthened.
So when I am faced with my own trials (which wane in comparison to those of Hannah and the widow), I am reminded that it is a test of faith. And realizing that, I pray that my choice will always be to cling to God. No matter how difficult the circumstances may be, I will cling to Him.