Difficult people are called so for a reason – they make your life difficult. Their words pierce you, their actions anger you and their presence makes you wish you had a tortoise shell you could crawl into.
But if God wanted us to have safety shells, he would have as well made tortoise out of us. So, the bottom line is:
He wants such patience testers – that’s what I call them – in our lives. For they test us, test our faith and force us to seek refuge where we can actually find it.
The name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous run to it and are safe. (Proverbs 18:10)
And I have been running there a lot. Especially, when my breathing gets short and I feel like flinging the nearest thing available at the face that gives me a heartburn. A literal heartburn, where you feel the anger envelop the only organ that symbolises love. You feel the burning sensation as you are torn between giving back what you have received – with same intensity and hatred.
But you don’t. Instead you get irritated. You snap at people and you see the ugly in every situation. And when you have long drained the ammo, you chant the words like a drowning man clutches at a straw:
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. (1 Corinthians 13:4-8)
Though it takes a while for the mist to clear, it eventually does. When it does, you see what Jesus might have seen at his mockers, why he loved Paul even after his betrayal….
Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. (4:8-9)
Then you see not the angry words but the broken families, angry fathers breaking the child’s heart, insecurities deeper than a well… everything required to break a break a human spirit and no clear way for the lonely souls to run “to the strong tower” (Proverbs 18:10).
You breathe and with every breath you fill yourself with Him knowing full well that this painful cycle is going to repeat, but also knowing with certainty that love is just round the corner.