Hard times. Troubles. Challenges. Trials.

We hate those words.

Those words scare us.

No one in their heart of hearts ever desires to really go through them.

No matter your age, gender, nationality or wealth you get to experience them multiple times throughout your life.

Sometimes we deal with multiple challenges and trials at the same time. I really hate that!

Like myself, you might be dealing with them right now.

What’s interesting is that as a society, despite the fact that we hate these struggles, challenges and trials we enjoy movies, books, TV shows, and music that tackle these words head on. For me, it’s always been movies that mean the most. It’s the medium I connect with and speaks to my heart and soul.

“Apollo 13” and “The Martian” are two movies that stand out amongst the crowd.
Apollo 13 is perhaps the most meaningful because it actually happened.

Here you have three men in space, and hundreds on Earth who have trained and prepared for what is to date still one of the most daunting voyages ever undertaken. The crew of Apollo 13 flung themselves into the cosmos, knowing there were so many things they couldn’t predict or anticipate. It required a huge level of faith.

Then so many things went wrong, none of which they were ever prepared for.

While it’s amazing that they overcame everything, what’s more amazing is their perseverance. They kept “working the problem” no matter how tired, hungry or afraid of death they were.

“Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be more mature and complete, not lacking anything.” James 1:4

That perseverance taught all of NASA, and the world not just how to solve those problems. It taught them how to deal with, or avoid future problems.

Perseverance isn’t easy. It’s the part we hate the most about our trials. We want to pray away, wish away, or pay away the problem. We just want it to go away, get our lesson and move on.

While that may work, it’s a band-aid. You aren’t taking care of the root issue and you aren’t really preparing for what’s coming down the line.

Your perseverance may be required for days, months or years. There may even be times where you think you’re done, but you’re really still in the middle of it. It’s the center of the storm, and you still have a dark, overwhelming journey ahead of you. That right there is so scary to realize and accept. It gives me chills just writing it.

Even scarier is that you may have to deal with something that requires perseverance for the rest of your life. That’s really hard to admit and write.

Being out of work for the last 4 months after 16 years straight of employment, I have struggled with perseverance every single day.

Getting out of bed realizing I still don’t have a job.  Trying to find a job. Trying to get interviews. Trying to not let the disappointment crawl into my head and affect my moods, or impact the people around me. I want to snap my fingers and make it all go away, I want God to make a job immediately appear.

Some might say “If God loves you so much, then why doesn’t He make it all better?”.

Could He? Yup.

Do I wish He would? Every day.

God is not a vending machine.
God is not a genie.
God is not Amazon with next day delivery.

He wants to help us with our problems, but He’s not interested in immediately solving all of them. He wants us to learn perseverance. He wants us to put faith in Him at a level that some find a bit illogical.  As the passage in James 1 continues…

“If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do.” James 1:5-8 NIV

I have learned that while I lean on Him for guidance, strength and wisdom He is refining me like a goldsmith. He is keeping me strong through the fires so that what comes out on the other end is an even stronger person.

“Then I will test those survivors by giving them many troubles. The troubles will be like the fire a person uses to prove silver is pure. I will test them the way a person tests gold. Then they will call to me for help, and I will answer them. I will say, ‘You are my people.’ And they will say, ‘The Lord is my God.’” – Zechariah 13:9 ERV

What’s comforting is that He’s promised that if we stick through it. If we persevere. If we stay close to Him that HE WILL deliver us. HE WILL make life better. HE WILL prepare us for the next challenges that we encounter.

It’s hard. It’s painful. It’s frustrating.

He will NEVER forsake us and NEVER break a single promise.

While my trials aren’t over by far, I am stronger and getting stronger every day.

I know this because…

He’s brought me through the challenges of the past.
He’s bringing me through the challenges I’m going through now
He’s going to bring me through the challenges in the future.

It just requires perseverance and putting absolute FAITH and TRUST in Him. 

In the end He will make us like a precious and strong metal with a value that can never be measured. We will then proudly proclaim Him as our great God. The provider of all providers. The father that loves and supports us 24-7, 365.

For those who are fighting the fight, or multiple fights. Know that you are not alone. Keep persevering. Keep praying. Know that He is in your corner.  He is fighting for you. He is with you. Yes, even those that don’t believe in Him.

For those that have fought the fight, or are in a calm spot. Keep praising His name. Keep leaning on Him. Keep the perseverance alive. Help your fellow brother and sister through their fight. Remind them that they too will make it through. Remind them that they’ll be better than when they first started. Pray for and with them, especially those that haven’t given their life to Christ.

God has got this.
God has got you.


STS-133, Discovery’s Final Voyage

Many that know me, know of my love for the Space Shuttle program. It’s something that’s always had a special place in my heart and something that I am going to be sad to see end.

God willing, and weather permitting the Space Shuttle Discovery and the crew of STS-133 will launch today at 4:50pm EST/1:50pm PST. Its mission that was originally scheduled to launch back in December.

I was fortunate enough to see the Space Shuttle Challenger land on it’s maiden voyage, and managed to see a shuttle launch from afar in Orlando. I’m still trying to figure out a way to see the launch a little closer for the final mission in April CORRECTION – The final mission will be the Shuttle Atlantis in June. Still, crossing fingers.

No matter what though, today I’ll be glued to the computer watching the shuttle and its crew fly into history. While the Discovery rockets into space to take components to the International Space Station, it will as it always has also take the pride, hopes, dreams and inspirations of a little kid who continues to believe in the space program and our human desires to explore the beauties of space.

Good luck, and Godspeed Discovery.

We’re All In This Together…

One of the sites I frequent is Ain’t It Cool News. It’s got all the wonderful movie and TV news that a film geek like me could ever want. I consider it my CNN for all things entertainment.

Today I came upon THIS POST at their site that talks about the tragic shooting in Tuscon. Now fair word of warning it’s got some language and thoughts that some might find offensive, so if you’re easily offended please don’t read that post.

My takeaway from the post though was a reminder that we are all on this incredible planet called Earth together. We’ve all got different viewpoints, different ideals, different ways of life, but we’re all together and we’ve got to figure out a way to work things out together.

This point was driven even further home by the following embedded video.

I love the portion of the video where the narrator says

“For all our failures. Despite our limitations and fallibilities.
We humans are capable of greatness.”

The heroes at the site of the tragedy and those at the hospital are shining examples of human greatness and they all have my utmost respect and admiration.

Every day I’m reminded by friends, family, co-workers and strangers that we are all capable of greatness. Greatness isn’t just large acts of generosity and helpfulness, it also doesn’t have to involve spending a single penny.

It can be as easy as letting that person in front of you in rush hour traffic.

– It can be as simple as putting a post-it-note on your employee’s desk telling them they’re doing a great job.

– It can be as loving as forgiving someone who did wrong or hurt you and moving on to brighter days.

– Greatness can be achieved by just taking that one step further.

I pray that we can all take some valuable lessons from the losses that occurred this past weekend and instead of dividing further can find a way to come closer together.

Let’s achieve the greatness WE ARE ALL CAPABLE of.

My heart goes out to everyone who was involved in or impacted by this tragedy in Tuscon.

My deepest condolences go out to those who lost loved ones.

My encouragement and support goes out to Representative Giffords who I think is going to wind up having, and showing us all an incredible moment of greatness.