I have served God for a decade. 10 years ago I tried to take my own life in my car. Influenced by drugs and alcohol, I was going to kill myself. I was a devout atheist; but, our of utter desperation I threw up a prayer asking Jesus to save me. I didn't expect Him too; but, He did. The car refused to start and my life was drastically changed forever. For the past 10 years I've followed Him as the Lord, Savior, and leader of my life. He helped me clean up my act and get my Bachelor's degree. I took my LSAT and was accepted into law school; but, felt called to serve Him in pastoral ministry instead. I took a volunteer position as a Pastor at our local Church (served there for 2 years) and went back to school getting my Master's Degree in Theology from a prestigious and accredited theological institution. I ministered at our local jail and did volunteer work with Habitat for Humanity. I even started my own ministry and share the Gospel from town to town, handing out Free Bibles, and sharing the message of God's love. I don't get paid. I have no money. I have thousands of dollars in student loan debt with no real way of paying that money back. I have no "Real Job," although I have been looking with the utmost intensity (it's tougher than most would like to admit out there). Society thinks I am a loser and a waste. Oftentimes I am laughed at and mocked. They look at my resume and ask, "So what have you been doing the last several years?" I've lost most of my family and friends since becoming a Christian. I do have some close family; but, still often feel alone and trapped as if no one could possibly understand the intensity of my emotional burdens. Sometimes I wonder whether I should have taken my life all those years ago. As a Christian I go through significant pain and emotional turmoil. The world is pulling at me daily getting me to believe that my life is meaningless, that my God doesn't care, that He probably doesn't exist and that if He does exist, He hates me. The truth is, Jesus never promised anyone an easy life. You won't find it in all of Scripture. He said, "Pick up your cross and follow me daily." This implies a life of suffering...one where we will have trials and tribulations. Afterall, if He is our Savior and we emulate Him, then we won't find the satisfaction we are longing for in this world. Jesus said, "If they hated me first, they will also hate you." As Christians, we won't find real true genuine acceptance in this world because this isn't our home. Our home is with Jesus. Those are just the facts. Does Jesus answer prayer? Everytime. He answers with: YES, NO, and MAYBE...LATER, ON MY TIME. I thought about my life recently and thought about how my life was out of control...my control. It's not out of control. God is completely in control and as we read in the story of Joseph and his brothers, He uses bad situations for the benefit of the greater good. That can be hard for us to grasp because as sinful people, we often like to play God. We want things to go our way and when they don't we become uncomfortable. We need to remember that through all of this, God still reigns. He reigns through our sorrow, through our trials and tribulations, and through our deepest pain. He uses these experiences to mold us and to bring us closer to Him, solidifying and maturing our faith. We can all just give up...but where is the glory in that...where is the faith in that? This relationship we have with Christ: it's a labor of love. It's easy to praise God when things are going well; but, how much more glory can we give Him when we praise Him in the deepest, most violent and tragic storms of our life? A personal thought for each of you, Jesus promised that He would always be with us and that He would never forsake us or leave us. He demonstrated His love for us by dying on the cross. Jesus wept just like we do. He was tempted in everyway we were. He isn't a stranger to the suffering we endure. He isn't far away from us. He is up close, intimate, and deeply in love with us. He doesn't shy away from us when we endure hardships, He goes through it with us forever faithful and forever in love with us, His most precious creation. Remember always: He loves you. He loves you. He loves you.