Today I turned 50 years old. This day has deep significance to me as I reflect back on my life. I'm not one to want to celebrate my birthday or even tell people it's my birthday but today is different. Today I'm celebrating this day that God has given me because I used to live in fear that I would never see 50 years. It wasn't because I've suffered illness or disease, quite the opposite actually. God has blessed me with a healthy strong body all of my life. This day is special because I made it to a day of longevity that no one else in my immediate family has seen before me. My mother was the first, succumbing to breast cancer at the age of 39. My brother a few years later at the age of 13 in an accident. Then my father in an accident some 16 years later at the age of 49. I was 21 when my father was tragically killed and often haunted by nightmares of being from a cursed family destined to die before my time. Today is so different from the nightmares of my past. Today I have the knowledge of a Holy and Righteous God. I'm not cursed, on the contrary. I look back and see how God has used my life circumstances to draw me nearer to Him, His grace and His promise for me and my life. The same promise he offers to anyone who chooses to seek Him out. I love what Paul says in Romans.
Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.
I rejoice in my sufferings because God has never disappointed me.
As I train for Ironman Arizona I know there will be more suffering followed by a sense of joy when I reflect back on the experience and how it's shaped my life.