Why is this happening to me? We’ve probably all asked that question at some point in our life. Perhaps our world was turned upside down by a medical diagnosis, a seemingly insurmountable financial crisis, a relationship that fell apart after starting out well, or a loss of some kind.

It’s natural to want to know why a storm has occurred, but how we choose to handle it is also important. Will our trust in the Lord increase as we watch Him use our suffering to make us more Christlike, or will we become bitter and resentful toward Him? In other words, will we rage against God or humbly submit?

Sometimes we bring trouble on ourselves with wilful disobedience; other times, storms come through no fault of our own. In either case, difficulties are common to all of us. And Peter tells us not to be surprised at fiery ordeals as if something strange is happening to us. Whatever the cause, God uses trials to purify and refine us. Therefore, as we aim to continually do what is right in the Creator’s eyes, let’s keep on rejoicing in the Lord, with our hope firmly set on Christ’s return.

1 Peter 4:12-19
Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you;  but rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ’s sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy.  If you are reproached for the name of Christ, blessed are you, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. ]On their part He is blasphemed, but on your part He is glorified.  But let none of you suffer as a murderer, a thief, an evildoer, or as a busybody in other people’s matters. Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in this matter.  For the time has come for judgment to begin at the house of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the end of those who do not obey the gospel of God?  Now “If the righteous one is scarcely saved, Where will the ungodly and the sinner appear?” Therefore let those who suffer according to the will of God commit their souls to Him in doing good, as to a faithful Creator.

“By this all men will know you are my disciples, if you love one another.” John 13:35

I have made many important discoveries and learned many valuable lessons in the course of my nearly 80 years.

I could write about my days of agnosticism when as a happy pagan I finally heard the Good News for the first time and fell in love with Jesus Christ. I could have told about the days when I first experienced the reality of the person of the Holy Spirit. I could share my discovery of how to introduce others to Christ as a way of life, or my realization that everybody hungers for God, even so-called atheists, because God created us that way. (Romans 1:19, 20)

However, having considered all of these possibilities, [the greatest lesson I ever learned is how to] love people who sometimes are difficult to love.

Why is this lesson important to me? Because God places a very strong emphasis on love in His Word. In fact, our Lord teaches us to

love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, and mind’ and to “love your neighbor as yourself.

The Holy Spirit spoke through the Apostle Paul, that no matter what else we might accomplish in life, regardless of what we may contribute that is good and commendable, apart from love, it is of no value whatsoever.

In one instance, I was having difficulty loving a fellow staff member of Campus Crusade for Christ. But the Lord reminded me of 1 Peter 5:7,

Let him have all your worries and cares, for He is always thinking about you and watching everything that concerns you” (TLB).

When I claimed God’s love for the man, by faith, my concern lifted. This man and I met later that afternoon and had the most wonderful time of prayer and fellowship we had ever experienced together. Loving with God’s love, by faith, had changed our relationship.

Perhaps you have been in a similar situation and wondered, “How can I really love that person?” I encourage you to make a list of those whom you don’t like and begin to love them by faith. Confess any wrong attitudes you may have about them. Ask the Holy Spirit to fill you with Christ’s love for each of them. Then seek to meet with them as you draw upon God’s limitless, inexhaustible, overwhelming love for them by faith. You will discover, as I have, that we can never run out of opportunities to love by faith.

Bible ReadingHebrews 11:6

Thought: Commit to examining your relationships, asking the Lord who you need to express His love for. Take time to pray for that person, and your own attitude about them. Then contact them, and let them know you are praying for them.