Horses, like humans, have distinct personalities. Toby, my first horse, has always been sassy and full of zip, but he’s slowed quite a bit. He’s more than thirty years old now, and his personality is a little more zap than zip. He’s slower to come up than he used to be and his final days are near.

When it comes to eating, he’s especially slow, and it shows in his gaunt physique. I’ve added extra feed, wormed him more often, checked his teeth. No change. He’s always been thin, but he’s gotten thinner as the years have passed. “Just like me,” Sam always said. “We’re both thin. It don’t matter a bit.”

Most of the time, I feed the horses together in one trough at the edge of the pasture. The younger horses eat quickly. Toby chews on every bite. It takes him a while, and he’s often at the trough long after the other horses have wandered away. Hay’s always available, so he’s never without something to eat, but I’ve worried about him.

When single-digit weather came, I moved the horses to the pasture behind the barn and started feeding them in stalls again. The first day, the young horses were finished eating long before Toby. I waited a bit to turn them out, and Toby finished his grain.

Last night, I dumped feed in Toby’s pan and ran my hand down his side. He was still lean, but his ribs weren’t quite as prominent. He’d gained a few pounds since he’d been in the barn. “Hey, Toby, I think the freezing weather has helped you, old buddy.” He kept his head in the feed.

The cold snap brought low temperatures, ice, frozen pipes, and extra work, but the effort hasn’t been wasted. Toby’s a little better. It’s a bit of good in the midst of the hard.

I’ve been through plenty of hard times in my life, but one thing’s been true of every difficulty. There’s always something good in the midst, IF we’re willing to look for it.

Today, let’s spend some time considering our own difficulties. What growth has God brought from it? How are we becoming more like Him? How has blessing come from the hard? Let’s look close to find the good, and be sure to thank Him for what He has done.

“Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?…But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us.” Romans 8:35, 37 nasb