He's taught me a deeper level of hope, faith, trust, grace, endurance, patience (oh so much patience), and compassion.
Compassion's been a biggie. I always felt like I was a compassionate person, but God's taken me to a whole new level of compassion. And grace. Grace has to go along with compassion.
I've noticed that I have compassion for people who seem to be one thing on the outside, like cruel or angry or selfish, but I know on the inside they're really lost and fearful, many times with no one to help them. I see beyond the rough exterior, through the wall, and into the hurting heart.
How can I do that? Because I've been there. I understand at least some what they may be feeling. And that's only come from enduring trials.
Those trials have been my lessons, in many ways. I wish I could have learned an easier way, like, by osmosis. That would've been much easier than ripping my heart out. But if heart surgery is what it takes, then I will trust in the great Surgeon.
And of course when there are lessons there are tests. Instead of learning compassion long distance--that person in the news or in someone else's life--I've faced some of those people up close and personal. Sometimes I pass the test; sometimes I fall flat on my face.
When I pass I know it's only by God's good grace. When I fail, I ask forgiveness and get back up again.
It's been a year in the trenches, otherwise known as God's classroom, but I know I'll come out the other side more like my Jesus.
Finally, all of you, be like-minded, be sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate and humble. Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult. On the contrary, repay evil with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing.
1 Peter 3:8-9
What are you thankful for?