Why does life have to be so hard? Why do things have to hurt? Why do we have to feel lonely or sad or broken or distressed? Why do relationships end? Why do people shut others out?

These are just a few of the questions running around in my head. Some of them I have had to deal with regarding the way I treat others. Some of them I have to deal with regarding the way people have treated me. And right now some of them are being decided in someone else’s mind and I have no control over the answers. And it hurts. A lot.

It hurts me to think that I might have done this to someone in the past. If that was you, I apologize with my whole heart. Now I know how it feels and I wouldn’t wish it on anyone. Sometimes, the decisions I think would be the easiest, end up hurting the most in the end. The easy way is not always the best way out. I’ve learned that. Most of the time, I’ve missed something worthwhile because it wasn’t the easiest to obtain.

I love a quote by Thomas Paine, “What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly.” I guess this can be applied to relationships also. If we don’t have to work for it and sweat over it, it probably won’t mean much to us. We won’t really care about it much. But the relationships that are built on sweat and blood and tears will probably last longer and be so much more fulfilling.

In the midst of this, I think I have discovered one of the purposes of this trial. I’ve received a message many times in the last two days that I think is the whole reason I needed to experience these feelings.

God’s love is most important.

God’s faithfulness to us should be enough. We don’t need human approval or acceptance. In fact, our quest for those may hinder us in our walk with and work for God. Ellen White suggests in Ministry of Healing that instead of taking our problems to humans, who can only be so wise and comforting, we can take our problems to the ultimate Comforter, the One who knows everything and can help us more than any other.

Of course, many things are easier said than done. But, there is hope. Also in Ministry of Healing I read that God tries those in whom He sees something precious. He knows that I will come through this trial. If nothing else, my relationship with Him will be strengthened. And that is as important a lesson as any other I could learn. Yes, this hurts and I don’t like it. But if God didn’t see anything good in me to bring out and refine, He wouldn’t send me through this trial. My job is to trust Him that everything will work. He knows what He’s doing. He is the Potter and I am the clay.

Student missionary Katelyn Pauls writes from Thailand.