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Today I turned 44 years old and today is not a reason to celebrate.

44 years ago I was born into this world. Life has not always been easy. In fact, the better part of my adult life seems to be entangled with trial or tribulation. Have I made mistakes? Yes, I have. Have I made dumb decisions that have affected others around me? Yes, I have. Have I done some good? I think I have, but if you are a believer in the Lord you will know that good deeds, alone, do not get you into heaven.

Today the struggles continue for me as well as my family. I try not to share all the details with my wife because she worries too much. We all handle worry and stress differently in our lives. Today, though, was especially hard because it seems the private, little, world is caving in. It seems that hope has all but disappeared. From my vantage point it seems that I have run out of solutions. Every day seems to be one small step forward, but then something or someone with other interests push me back two more. It appears time is all but expired on some of my challenges and others are mounting. Today, on my 44th birthday, when I woke up the thought of complete and utter defeat seems inevitable. So, I did what I only to do at this point in my life even though I have not held to my end of the arrangement. I have failed to be a dutiful follower. I have failed to seek daily counsel. I have failed to learn more through the Word. I have failed to merely demonstrate in my life that I was even worthy to again kneel before His throne to seek mercy and guidance. But I did. I prayed harder and cried louder.

I felt a little bit of comfort after I was finished in my time pleading with the Lord to show me guidance or wisdom. Later this morning I saw a post on social media from a friend who said, "There is much to be thankful for over the smaller trials and disappointments". It immediately reminded me of the scripture that I have so often referenced in my life over these last 26 years of adulthood that has been spent dealing with trouble, disappointment, and trials. Romans 5:3-5, "... but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us." I was reminded also what Joshua 1:9 states, "Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go."

I do not have solutions yet, but I believe they will come. Trouble is in eyesight, but there is an army of Angels waiting to go to battle for me. Today, I celebrate my 44th birthday learning, again, Psalm 46:1-3, "God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging."

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