I would imagine all of us have learned some painful lessons. Touch a hot stove once, and you’re likely to avoid doing it a second time. There are some things that befall us in this sinful world that hurt us whether physically, emotionally, or spiritually. And sometimes those very things are what teach us to rely more fully on Him. The years I spent in chronic pain taught me compassion for others who suffer. It taught me to trust His strength when mine was completely gone. It taught me to praise Him for who He IS—my Savior, Redeemer, and Sustainer–rather than thinking I could only praise Him for pleasant circumstances. Honestly, I think the “broken hallelujahs” that rise from the shadowed valleys of despair and need are more precious to Him than a hundred mountaintop dances, because praise uttered from a battered spirit caught in a dark place invites in the Light. If you’re in a valley of hardship or despair right now, let Him use the experience to strengthen your relationship with Him. HE alone is our source of eternal joy and contentment.