The next time you think God has forgotten you or is punishing you because things aren’t going right in your life, consider the words from Paul, one of the most influential Christ follower/messenger: “Five different times the Jewish leaders gave me thirty-nine lashes. Three times I was beaten with rods. Once I was stoned. Three times I was shipwrecked. Once I spent a whole night and a day adrift at sea. I have traveled on many long journeys. I have faced danger from rivers and from robbers. I have faced danger from my own people, the Jews, as well as from the Gentiles. I have faced danger in the cities, in the deserts, and on the seas. And I have faced danger from men who claim to be believers but are not. I have worked hard and long, enduring many sleepless nights. I have been hungry and thirsty and have often gone without food. I have shivered in the cold, without enough clothing to keep me warm. Then, besides all this, I have the daily burden of my concern for all the churches. Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” 2 Corinthians 11:24-28,12:9-10 So when you’re going through something difficult ask yourself these questions: 1. Am I going through these trials because God is trying to lead me to Him and the Salvation only He can offer? 2. Am I struggling simply so I will learn to rely on Gods strength and to keep me humble and gentle and compassionate? 3. Am I enduring unending hardships as a result of my disobedience to what God teaches at should or shouldn’t do? 4. Am I going through a particularly difficult season so that one day I can turn around and help someone else who is struggling with the same thing? God reminds us over and over in scripture that we will go through trials and hardships. He never said it would be easy, He only said He would be there with us through it and offer us an unexplainable peace and joy during it. This life is hard and will almost always be hard, but it’s what we do with those trials that really matter. Are we becoming better or bitter, compassionate or judgmental, a giver or a taker?