I’ll admit that I am addicted to comfort too much of the time. I don’t want to step outside my comfort zone too often.
But I keep thinking about the believers in Thessalonica. They only had Paul and Silas for a few short weeks. They were new converts, yet they still managed to turn their world upside down.
The big takeaway for me was how they endured persecution and ridcule, but how that endurance and trial turned into perserverance. That perserverance turned into character, which led to a hope that nothing and no one and nothing could quench.
What you’re going through will end, but your story won’t. Who better to talk to someone struggling with alcoholism than a recovering alcoholic? Who better to help someone cope with the loss of a child than someone who has walked the same road and cried the same tears? Who better to help someone deal with doubt and discouragement than you after you’ve been through a dark night of the soul when you felt hopeless and alone, but finally saw daylight at the end of your trial?
I love the quote from a movie I saw that said that only those who have lost can truly lead. Only those who have been hurt can help bring healing. Only those who know how they have messed up their lives and what Jesus save them from can truly love well and lead well.
It’s all about loving well. It’s not how religious you can talk or how well you keep the rules. It’s not about how convincingly you can point a finger at people and expose their faults. It’s about how you can be a vessel of God’s love and love people right where they are for who they are.
I’m not really good at loving well, but I’m getting better. Those rare moments when I did love well were moments when I forgot about me and let Jesus take over.
My prayer is that you learn to embrace your story, even the painful parts, and help others to find the good in their stories, too.
Above all, may we all learn to love well.