How to Love When It’s Difficult

Hebrews 4:14-16
“Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”
Jesus has warned us beforehand, “In this world you will have trouble.” but he has also given us the answer to our suffering, “But take heart! I have overcome the world.” so that “in me you may have peace.” Life is hard, life in Christ might even be harder, the difference is that our sufferings are not without hope. Christ, our Lord has overcome the world, and we are over-comers in him.
Facing temptations and trials, our own strength and wisdom always fail us, but God allows them to test our hearts and turn our eyes to him, knowing that He is the source of all wisdom, strength, and grace. Without looking to Him, we cannot love others well, especially those who sin against us. If we are not looking to Him, we will quickly look to ourselves, and define love base on what we have received, how well we have been treated (the way we want to be treated). Then we make a mental decision if the other person is lovable or not, and we lose sight of God completely, with no pursuit of holiness. (1 Cor. 13:1-3)
How do we love when things are difficult? Let’s first turn to the source of all pure love, draw near to the throne of grace, and learn from Him, remembering how he kneels down to wash his disciples’ feet even though he knows that they would use those same feet to run away and deny him the next day (when he is dying for them!) remembering how he is willing to die for us on the cross so that we could be reconciled to God and have eternal life. He is good and faithful, and will give us mercy and grace to help us journey through the difficult times in life. He will sustain us and grow us to love like Jesus, the One who sees all our flaws and sins and loves us still to the end by giving us all he has.

From Anxiety to Peace

Psalm 94:19

“When anxiety was great within me,

your consolation brought joy to my soul.”

When we are overwhelmed with anxiety, and even panic attack, nothing releases it from the root, except the peace in Jesus Christ. The world, the flesh, they bring anxiety, but the Lord, our Savior, He brings peace. He comforts us in Spirit, and clams down the storm in our soul, raising our eyes from the waves in the sea to the heaven above, where His throne is established forever, and His love draws our hearts to Him in trust and in hope, encouraging us to loosen our grip on the things that we hold dear in life, and raise our hands toward Him in joy. There, He reigns in us, and peace comes.

In Control

Psalm 93:1b

“The world is firmly establised,

it cannot be moved.”

God is in control of our world, no matter how things look to the naked eye. The world is in chaos to the human eyes, but it is anchored in God’s grace. He knows, and sees what’s going on, and everything falls perfectly into His grand plan. It moves toward the direction that he leads, to a destination that he has predestined. It will not get out of control like we so often fear, because the Lord is the Almighty King, the Creator and Sustainer of the universe, and He does not change. His love endures forever. We can trust and rest in Him with our today, and tomorrow. His grace is sufficient for us.

Beauty of the LORD

Psalm 90:17

“May the favor of the Lord our God rest upon us;

establish the work of our hands for us-

yes, establish the work of our hands.”

What a beautiful vision to have the beauty of the Lord rest upon us! Our greatest joy as children of God is expressed well in Psalm 27:4, “I ask only one thing from the LORD. This is what I want most: Let me live in the LORD’s house all my life, enjoying the LORD’s beauty and spending time in his palace.” (ERV)

As we dwell in his house, see his glory, and discover his will (EXB), the Lord himself establish the work of our hands for us – the work that he prepared in advance for us to do through these hands that are created by him and belong to him (Ephesians 2:10). What a comfort and blessing that we don’t live or work alone, or without purpose, but we live and work in and with our Creator and Savior, in this temple which his favor dwells, for his glory!

The Compassionate Lord

Mark 8:1-3, 8

“…Since they had nothing to eat, Jesus…said, ‘I have compassion for these people; they have already bene with me three days and have nothing to eat…they will collapse…because some of them have come a long distance’…The people ate and were satisfied.”

This passage teaches how compassionate Jesus is toward those who follow and seek him. It’s the same for our spiritual journey. Sometimes we get faint-hearted after trying to stand in trials and our hearts might feel empty or extremely anxious or fearful facing the ‘giant’, like the people who would collapse in this story if they did not receive grace from God, and Jesus would not let us go on that way. He has compassion on us. It teaches us to endure in hardships, trusting that Christ will come to help and deliver us, in a real and practical way, just like how he fed the four thousand with food. Jesus is our Manna in the wilderness. He will come and feed us, and we will eat and drink from his fountain of life and be satisfied. He is faithful to his promise.