Good morning from Split where it’s quite cold at the moment!

This morning I feel to write about pity, self-pity and how to handle it!

In Australia the Pentecostals had the expression “pity party” to describe the tendency we all have to feel sorry for ourselves and to wallow in our wounds in an unhealthy way !

I remember telling a doctor maybe 12 years ago that I was having anxiety attacks. She said “what a pity”.

The trouble at times with the word pity is that there is a doom and gloom sort of mood that can go with it. A “nothing can be done” vibe than can be quite depressing!

A few years later I shared my struggles with a Pentecostal pastor who had gone through many trials in his life and is now building sky-scrapers in Sydney. His response was very different to the doctor’s. He looked at me with compassion and said

“Mike, it is not a set-back but a set-up”!

You see, he had learnt enough about God to know that God can bring enormous good out of the worst things in your life!

And so this helped me to see my cross as a blessing that was a school of self discovery, transformation, humility and growth.

The panic attacks reduced me to nothing, they showed me my utter weakness and hopelessness but God used them to show me that the real strength I needed came from Jesus and not me and my ideas!

The homosexuality ate away at my pride. If I didn’t have that maybe I’d have been the ‘perfect guy’ at least in my own eyes!!

But no, homosexuality taught me that there are many things in life beyond my control and that I am no better or worse for that matter than anyone else!

These struggles also brought me to my knees and to searching out God, the God of mercy who has compassion on us all.

And so as I sit here this morning I see very clearly that although very difficult, it is the things and areas of our lives where we struggle so much that actually God is using the most to teach us and transform us into humble children of God.

Obviously trials are still trials and we should never just ignore another’s pain and say “good will come out of it ” and walk away. Yet somehow in the middle of it we must say

“you will get through this and one day it will be a beautiful testimony of what God did for you.”

And so today as we struggle with our lives and we would like to be fully freed and healed, let’s ask Jesus, the divine teacher to help us to see the blessings and the spiritual transformation and growth that come from the struggle!

Let our crosses bring us closer to Jesus and also closer to one another in truth and compassion, vulnerability and honesty. None of us have our lives all together!

And then one day in heaven we will thank Jesus for all the sufferings of our lives that moulded and shaped us into saints and instead of saying “what a pity” we will say “what a blessing”!