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It is easy to get caught up in your own problems if you aren’t careful. You have a busy week when you don’t seem to have enough time to do everything you need to do and you can’t get anywhere near the amount of sleep that you need. You’re feeling under the weather and you feel that the world should take a timeout in sympathy for what you are going through.

A while ago, I was experiencing a bit of both of those scenarios. Then, my wife JoAnn got a beautiful birthday card. What does that have to do with me? I’ll explain.

The card was from a friend; someone who was undergoing successful treatment for a serious medical issue. If anybody had an excuse to focus solely on herself and her immediate family, she did.

Instead, she included a thank-you to my wife for JoAnn’s prayers and for sharing a novena that calls for the person praying it to surrender everything to God. She even included a hope that I was feeling better after a minor medical issue.

How can someone maintain such a beautiful, selfless attitude in the face of a severe trial of faith? The answer is contained in the question. Her problem did not diminish her faith in God; it strengthened it. When you turn to God, you often turn away from focusing on your problems and toward thinking about others. Your gratitude to God overcomes your complaints about the way your life is going.

It helps to keep in mind the example of that young woman. It helps to remember that God is here for us in good times and especially in bad. And when things aren’t going the way you would like, faith, hope and love helps us to realize that when we think of God and others consistently, we are not dwelling on ourselves constantly.

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Everything we do for others is a prayer.

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