Author Ava Pennington
Author Ava Pennington

I recently attended a Celebration of Life service for a friend’s adult daughter. It was a beautiful service, with a touching time of fellowship afterward.

Even as we celebrated her life, the pain was palpable—agony beyond the pain of the loss of a child, as great as that is. This young girl was a prodigal who made choices that shortened her own life and brought heartache to those who loved her.

You might expect the celebration would have had to reach back many years to reflect on happier times. While there was, indeed, much reminiscing, the celebration also touched on more recent events. Not to celebrate her sorrowful choices, but to celebrate what God taught her family and friends through those choices. Her mother shared several powerful lessons, but the most powerful of all was when she spoke her heart and said:

Love is painful, but worth it.

And we understood what she meant, because we’ve all experienced this lesson to some degree.

Love is inconvenient because people are inconvenient.

Love is difficult because people are difficult.

Love is unconditional because people are unlovable.

Love is painful, but worth it.

God certainly proved this when he offered His own Son to satisfy His wrath against sin.

Christ experienced rejection from the ones He came to save.
And it was painful.

Christ was abandoned by those closest to Him.
And it was painful.

Christ loved us…all the way to the cross.
And it was painful.

But it was worth it.

Hebrews 12:2 (NIV) tells us:

“For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”

Because Christ was willing to endure the agony of crucifixion on our behalf, those who trust Him for salvation will join Him for eternity.

Who are the unlovables in your life and mine? Love them like Jesus did. It may be painful…but it’s worth it.

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  1. Joanna S.

    So true. Appropriate for Valentine’s Day and encouraging words for help with relationships with those who may be harder to love (or what I like to call “extra grace required people) but who are totally worth the effort. I am so thankful my Lord thought a relationship with this hard to love sinner was worth it!! Brought to mind an old CeCe Winans song, “It Wasn’t Easy.”

  2. admin

    Thank you, Joanna!

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