I had written a couple drafts of this particular subject but obviously I never published. But now I just wanted to share a bit of my story/faith because I want people to know that it’s NOT ABOUT US. And sometimes we just need to get over ourselves and take a look around at all the good we have.

I’ve recently gone through a couple experiences that have really tested my patience and strength – I have experienced suffering. I have some ideas as to why but still a lot of questions. But we aren’t meant to know everything. And I know I can’t rely on my own rationale because my understanding is so limited and my perspective is so narrow.

What specifically gave me the nudge to share was hearing the message at church yesterday. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – I LOVE MY CHURCH. I always feel God’s presence and I hear him speaking through our pastors every Sunday. Maybe it’s just because I’m an adult now and actually listen (heh) or maybe it’s because I know the world isn’t as simple as I used to think as a kid. Life is tough, man! So when the pastor talked about trusting God and loving him for who he IS and not what he can DO…wow. Hit home completely.

Fact is, whether you have a relationship with God or not, we ALL go through tough times in this life. And we will always have suffering…BUT…we will also always have crazy good things happening. I know I have way more of the latter and try to always live in gratitude but it can be hard. I still whine, complain, act rudely and selfishly because I’m lame like that. And that’s when I get my wake up call.

Life can be very challenging and is constantly changing. But the one constant is my relationship with God. I know He gives the good as well as the bad and that He IS fighting on my behalf whether or not I understand why it’s happening. He gives and takes away but He is the same today, tomorrow and always. And He is GOOD. He teaches me not to rely on myself and what I can do, but on Him and who He is. Because focusing on what He can do for me is arrogant, wrong and just plain silly.

No, it’s not fun or easy to have to “delight in suffering” but it is much better than the alternative – to wallow in a deep pit of self-pity. I mean, what good does that do…really?

These are my truths:

I don’t know the ways God works (Ecclesiastes 11:5 and Isaiah 45:15) and I’m not meant to. I’m meant to trust (Jeremiah 17:7 and Joshua 23:8) and submit, knowing He cares for me despite my limited understanding (Proverbs 3:5-12 MSG). God’s way is always higher and He doesn’t always work the way I expect Him to…He will accomplish what HE (not I) desires to fulfill His plan (Isaiah 55:8-11 MSG). He is always fighting on my behalf; I just need to be patient and listen (Exodus 14:14 and Romans 8:26-28 MSG). He won’t give me more than I can handle (Philippians 4:13 and 1 Corinthians 10:13 MSG) and if I lean on Him, He will restore me (Isaiah 40:31), help me (Ephesians 6:13-18 MSG) and meet all of my needs, as He always has (Philippians 4:19). My suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; character, hope (Romans 5:3-5). He knows my future and it is good (Jeremiah 29:11) and He always keeps his promises (Joshua 21:45).

If we don’t live life in constant gratitude, our situations and circumstances can really do some damage to us. For me, I’ve grown to appreciate – but not enjoy – times of suffering because they slap me around and wake me back up.

I’m grateful for all the blessings I have. I’m grateful for all my support systems. I’m grateful for a God who “never let’s go, through the darkness and through the storms.” I’m grateful for a positive outlook on what might come someday for me and the grateful acceptance for what might not.

I will always trust, always hope and always persevere after God because I love Him and because that’s what He does for me. That’s just what you do when you love someone. (1 Corinthians 13:6-7)

Thanks for “listening.” Hope someone, somewhere got something out of this, too.

Our life really IS “golden.”