There’s a song we sang about 30 years ago that said, “I do not know just why He came to love me so. He looked beyond my faults and saw my needs.” When I think of all that God has pulled me through, it blows my mind. I post this to remind anyone going through a tough time never to lose hope. God will almost always allow us to face the consequences of our dumb decisions, but He’ll go through it with us and strengthen us along the way. Isaiah 41:10 says, “Fear thou not, for I am with thee. Be thou not dismayed for I am thy God.” How powerful is that?

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I am proof of God’s mercy, love and kindness. Life is sometimes extraordinarily painful, and there were times when I thought the pain would kill me, but it only made me strong. Don’t look for quick and easy solutions because there probably won’t be any, and you’ll set yourself up for more pain. Square your shoulders and brace yourself as the storm screams around you. Anchor yourself in God’s promise never to abandon you. It will be difficult, and you must accept that, but all storms end. Pray for it to stop if you want to. Cry when you need to, but don’t for a second believe you’re alone.

Each of us is endowed with the fortitude to weather any blast from hell, but some people don’t know it because they’ve smothered it with self-pity and a sense of entitlement. We aren’t entitled to anything, and if you believe you are, you’ll never be grateful for anything. It is gratitude that softens my heart and brings me to tears of humbleness, and it is gratitude for all God has done for me that makes me know there is nothing I can’t survive as long as I’m anchored in Him.

If you’re in the middle of a storm today, face it head on and know it will end. If you’ve just emerged from one, flex the spiritual muscles that were built during the trial and move forward with confidence — and gratitude. God’s peace is the armor that will protect you from any bombs lobbed from hell. You’ll feel the thuds as they hit you, and you’ll sometimes be knocked off your feet from the explosions, but the armor of peace is impenetrable as long as you don’t succumb to self-pity and hopelessness.

Life isn’t always pretty or fair, and only the delusional and unprepared believe it is. Those are the people the enemy will separate from the herd and devour. Stay with the pack of true believers who aren’t fooled by promises that life is a bed of roses. They will surround you and protect you when the storms come. They’ll even go through it with you. Make Godly decisions, and the attacks will be less frequent. Make dumb ones, and you’re walking into a minefield. Still, God will be there with you.

I love the part in Mass when we say, “Peace be with you” because it’s like we’re sending each other into the world prepared for anything. It is peace that gets us through the storms without losing our sanity. So peace be with you, my friends. And fear not because He is always with us, and don’t be dismayed because He is our God.