Hard places make us patterns and object lessons for the help of others and for the glory of God, showing to the world what Christ can do for His children, and what Christ-lives may accomplish where others fail.
God wants us to be a spectacle to angels and to men, showing to them in our example that Christ can keep in every situation, and that the power of His grace is practical, supernatural and adapted to every human life.
Hard places fit us to help others by the lessons we have learned in our own experience.
The callous and immature heart is little qualified to comfort, counsel and bless a suffering world. God has to burn in us first what we are to give out to our fellows.
The painful ordeal of a real experience qualifies us to comfort, strengthen and encourage the souls to whom He has to send us, and to whom we can say, "I have been there, and I can tell you from the depths of my own experience that ‘my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus’ " (Phil. 4:19).
Hard places make Christ real, just as real as the trouble is. They are the heavenly stamps by which God’s messages and God’s communications of grace and blessing are embossed and made to stand out in relief from our lives.
The picture is first cut, and then burned into that card by the heavy stamp and the glowing flame, and then it becomes what we call relief work, and everybody can see it and feel it.
So God cuts and burns His messages into human lives until Christ becomes to us real as the tears we have shed, the fears under which we have trembled, the sorrows that were ready to overwhelm us, and the difficulties which rose like mountains before us – so that the sweetest memories of our lives are the hard places which have become stepping stones and monuments of divine and heavenly things.
Hard places win for us eternal crowns. They become occasions for victory and reward. The soldier of Christ is winning a record and a crown which will never pass away.
~A. B. Simpson~