Love is Painful, But Worth It

loveI 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 horribly deep as that is. This young girl had been a prodigal who made choices that dramatically shortened her own life and broke the hearts of 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. It may be painful…but it’s worth it.

Ava Pennington

After a 20-year corporate career, Ava Pennington is thoroughly enjoying her second career as an author, teacher, and speaker. Her book, Daily Reflections on the Names of God: A Devotional, is published by Revell Books and endorsed by Kay Arthur, founder of Precepts Ministries. Ava has also written for numerous magazines, including Today’s Christian Woman and Focus on the Family’s Clubhouse. Her work has been published in 30+ anthologies, including 25 Chicken Soup for the Soul books. Ava also teaches a weekly Bible Study Fellowship (BSF) class. When she’s not writing and teaching, Ava enjoys playing with her mischievous 5-year-old Boxers, Duke & Daisy. For more information, visit

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