What’s Your Story? Is It Really All About You?

While many harp on the prosperity gospel, the fact is that no matter what we do, we’ll inevitably have despair, we will certainly face hardship, and we’re absolutely guaranteed to have suffering. We don’t have to pursue these things. Such trials will come naturally.

This is what happened to all 12 disciples. This is what happened to the Old Testament prophets. And so if anyone promises you otherwise it’s obvious they’re just selling you something. The message that you have God’s favor when the going is good, and you must be in disfavor if things are bad…it’s simply not Biblical.

Now lets be honest with ourselves. Some of this suffering is our own fault, and some of it isn’t. But if you press into Jesus, God will use both to glorify His name. This is where many stumble.

Too often we think, yes, Jesus loves me…but I’m saved already. If there’s any grace or mercy to be had, such is reserved only for the non Christians. As a Christian I should know better. And here I am addicted to drugs and pornography!

Here I am, a failure as a parent. Here I am in the process of getting my second divorce. Here I am, once again in debt and unemployed. Here I am, a missionary who returned broken and spent, and I just want a secular 8-5 day job. Surely God will not put up with me. Surely He will abandon me to my own folly. Maybe I’ll get to Heaven. But in this life, I’m now completely on my own!

But this is a lie straight from the father of lies. And nothing could be further from the truth.

In Romans, the Apostle Paul says I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. And of course, this means not even your stupid selfish choices can get in the way when Jesus is gunning for you.

I am living proof of this. A man who as a Christian saw hookers and was heavily steeped into pornography. A man in 6 figure debt that I had no hope of paying off.  And yet…even during this time, God blessed me in spite of my obvious sins. And then, miraculously, He freed me too! (the hookers in 2009, the debt in 2015, the porn in 2017.)

I had gotten myself messed up in these things, some before and some after I became a Christian. I had no excuses. I knew it was all due to my fear, lust, pride and my lack of faith. I also knew after repeated failures that I could never free myself on my own. And deep down I knew I didn’t deserve the grace to be free.

I was right on all counts! I didn’t deserve to be free. But Jesus freed me anyway!

The Bible is very clear on where we stand as believers in Jesus. Hebrews 4:16 tells us to approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.

This doesn’t mean we blithely go about our ways basking in cheap Grace. We are always called to repent when we know we have done wrong. And where we can, to make amends to those we have hurt. Yes, Prayer, Praise and Repentance are all part of the vertical relationship we have with God. But Scripture makes it plain that we need to get over ourselves. And we must act on God’s promises regardless of our circumstances. (Even when these circumstances are a direct result of our own stupid choices!)

Is Suffering Just To Make Me a Better Person?
Suffering is the glue that helps us stick close to Jesus. But it’s not all just about us.

Yes, God uses our suffering to write His story into our lives. But it doesn’t end there. If you’re a mystic, masochist or ascetic, you’ll want to focus on how your suffering has purified you. How the exquisite agony or holy purification somehow made you bigger and better and more humble. And maybe it’s even true to some extent.

But this is all just an inward process. The main focus is still about you and your transformation. It’s still man focused. It’s still a subtle reflection of your own glory. Your own achievements.

Yes, God exists and God is good. But suddenly God is now reduced into a tool for our own personal use like He’s celestial sandpaper. God’s divine purpose appears to be little more than molding, shaping and scraping us into being better people. But where is the emphasis on who God really is?

The God of the multiverse is far more than a people shaper. The God of 10 billion galaxies has vastly bigger plans than to “increase our own self actualization.” The fact is that God uses hardship and suffering for things way beyond your needs, your character and your wants. God will use your hardship to glorify His own name. And this is very good news! For often, He will do this by rescuing you and me in miraculous ways, over and over and over again.

As Paul says in 2 Corinthians 1:9-11:
Indeed, we felt we had received the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead. He has delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us again. On him we have set our hope that he will continue to deliver us.

So when we suffer hardship, we should be asking Jesus, Lord, sure I want to get out of this. But whatever happens, please glorify Your Holy Name. And Lord, please give me a story, where the focus is on YOU and not me. So that others can see your glory and want to know You for the holy rescuer, steadfast deliverer, merciful savior and gentle, eternal, unchanging, wise and powerful friend that you are and will forever be.

Who Gets The Story & The Glory
This is the secret. When we focus on Jesus. (His person-hood, His character, His power, His steadfast commitment to us when we’re in trouble…that He says “I will never leave you or forsake you”…) Then, we can fail over and over again. And we can still avoid the trap of languishing over our sins.

For at this point we realize the story, and the glory…it all belongs to Him. It’s all about Jesus and it’s not about us. Our successes and failures are never the centerpiece. Jesus Himself is the centerpiece. He is the cornerstone.

Jesus Himself says “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life.” And so we trust Jesus to deliver us not because of how good we’ve been, but because of how good HE is. And that’s our true story. Whenever we’ve been rescued, uplifted or victorious, this is the only story worth telling.

When I was lost He saved me. Even when I was saved, He rescued me. When there was no hope in my marriage, He delivered me. When I was steeped in drugs He freed me. When I had no joy, He gave me joy again! Our story is completely relational. It points to the intimate connection we have with Jesus. It’s never about us being super pure or super austere or super wise or super penitent. It’s all about Him. And when we know this, we are free. It’s His story. It’s His glory.

Inspiring Songs

My Story Your Glory (Matthew West)

Your Fighting My Battles (The Afters)

No Impossible With You (I Am They)

Related Blogs

Does God Like Us?
If God likes us, how is this different than love? Does it change how we spend time with Him?

How To Love My Neighbor in a Post Covid World?
Practical giving during a world wide pandemic.

What Does Maturing in Jesus Look Like?
Is there a litmus test we can use to see if we are growing up or simply fooling ourselves?


  1. You’re a damn good writer who clearly has a deep relationship with Jesus and I’m working on mine with Him

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