I Didn’t Sign Up for This Suffering or adversity in life is often times treated as though it’s a mistake and shouldn’t happen to us at all. We think it’s not supposed to happen financially or emotionally, and certainly not maritally. Fact is though, what we suffer through in life teaches us an incredible amount about life, reality, God, and ourselves. My family and I each have a few things we are suffering through. No we’re not homeless, thank God, and no we’re not in the middle of marital crisis like we were nine years ago. But all of us are in the middle of some tough stuff emotionally and physically. I hate that I have to go through it, that Samantha has to go through it and that our kids must face what they are encountering as some of it seems debilitating. I treat adversity like it shouldn’t happen to me. I mean come on; I’m trying to help save marriages and help people find their calling and healing in life. I’m doing all I can to try and be a good person and help others. I’m not cheating anymore. Why does life, or God, or Satan or some cosmic force of evil have to pick on me and my kids like this? Looking back, I’ve learned more in life through adversity than I ever have when things have gone well. However, when I go through intense adversity my knee jerk reaction is to believe I’ve been abandoned by God and left to myself to figure it all out. I know it comes from some childhood issues and some serious fatherlessness when I was growing up, but I’m doing much better with it all. Still, as you can tell from my blogs, I’ve nowhere near ‘arrived’ in life that’s for sure. Many of you are suffering and suffering incredibly. Some of you brought it on yourselves if you were unfaithful, and more of you have not. You’ve not asked for this. You’ve not done anything to deserve it. As one spouse said to me just yesterday “I never signed up for this.” Rather than present to you this epitaph of suffering and both of us miserably drown in this blog, I’d like to share with you that there are in fact, life changing rubies and jewels if you will, of healing and insight and revelation that are available when you’re suffering. When you’re suffering, it feels like you’ve been abandoned, but in fact, you’ve not been. The fact that you’re suffering proves you’re not abandoned and that there is a purpose to your life and to the trial you are facing. Yes, I said there is a purpose to what you’re going through. It will probably make far more sense in reverse than it does while you’re walking through it though and I get that more than you know. Maybe, just maybe, the suffering and the pain you are feeling is happening ‘for you’ and not just ‘to you?’ One of the greatest things that happened to Samantha and I was having my affair exposed. We were forced to confront what seemed impossible to confront. We were forced to talk about what we had swept under the rug for years and didn’t want to have to wade through. I was forced to find transformation, or be left for dead and miss out on restoration due to stubbornness and resentment. The richness of our lives has been learned through ploughing through the incredible amounts of hurt, pain, abandonment, confusion and agony. Yes, agony. It’s agonizing to go through what you’re going through. But I encourage you today to cry out to God. If you don’t believe in God, that’s OK. I get it. Maybe it’s time you ask if there is a God and if he’ll talk to you? Perhaps it might be time to ask him to reveal himself to you in a way that seems undeniable? Maybe it’s this entire nightmare which may be serving a purpose in causing you to reevaluate what your beliefs are? If you think I’m full of crap, that’s OK. I was there too. I’d like to end with a final thought that Tim Keller said once: “If God is treated as God during suffering, then suffering can reveal and present him in all his greatness.” I’m not sure about your faith or world view today and if you’re not a Christian or a believer at any level, it’s OK. This is a safe place for you and I hope you’re not offended. For others, and for me, as I finally treated God as God, and as I revere him and humble myself under God now, the suffering I’m experiencing reveals a beauty to Christ and reveals a whole new ocean of intimacy and oneness, the likes of which easy, agony-less living has never presented to me. Looking back, it was good that I had to experience what I’ve experienced in life.