I recently watched a video of a man running a race. He injured his leg, but his determination was such that he continued to limp through the rest of the race. At one point, his father came down from the audience and helped him through the painful effort.

This clip was only a few seconds long and yet it moved me almost to tears. It reminded me of the love and compassion that our Heavenly Father has for us.

“God helps those who help themselves”. When we make a sincere effort to move through a difficult situation, and we also make the effort to attune ourselves with the will of the Divine, then grace will come in our aid, sooner or later.

Moreover, difficult situations may be, in and of themselves, the grace of God and the Guru! Often they present themselves so that we can grow stronger in one way or another. “A fighter doesn’t get strong by fighting babies!”, I believe Yogananda used to say. And so it is that the Guru will present us with tests, but will also present us with the solution, provided that we stay perfectly in tune with His consciousness. So if we have the right attitude, the outcome will always be an expansion of our consciousness.

Thus, it is helpful to develop an attitude of gratitude for the hardships of life. This brings to mind a story from A Handbook in Discipleship by Swami Kriyananda, and I’ll just quote it here:

“Sister Gyanamata told the story of a guru who disciplined his disciples by throwing bricks at them. They all fled like ducks before a hunter. One disciple, however, picked up one of the bricks with great devotion and took it home with him because he felt it was a blessing. ‘My guru has chosen to treat me this way,’ he thought, ‘and what he’s given me has to be a sign of his grace.’ When he got home he found that the brick had turned to gold.”

Let us, then, be grateful whenever we are going through a hard period of our lives. In time, we will find that, after overcoming them, the very tests become our dearest treasures.