I am not an expert in pandemic viruses. However, I do have an earned degree from the School of Hard Knocks. When diagnosed with melanoma cancer in 2007, I was told I likely had 18 months to live. Now, 13 years and thousands of prayers later, exceptional medical care, lots of love and a deep abiding faith have guided me through 13bouts of cancer and treatment.

I am a committed follower of the Master Teacher, Jesus. I can verify that trust in God works for people. Truth-based principles also work for people who choose to put their faith in themselves, other people, science or fate. People of faith have the added resource of God's help in dealing with hard times. People who choose not to trust God, face life's challenges with only human power.

Four principles of faith have greatly assisted my extended cancer journey:

ONE: Apply Lifelong Learning. When responding to COVID-19, or other life challenges, view each challenge as a classroom learning experience, asking good questions, looking beyond the obvious and discovering life lessons.

It is natural in hard times to ask the question WHY? Why me? Why now? Why does God allow this? Sometimes profound questions have answers, other times answers are not forthcoming.

A better question to ask is WHAT can I learn through this? What should I do? What is God doing to accomplish his master plan?

TWO: Gratitude is one of the most effective medicines known to mankind. Everyone has been blessed more than they deserve and observe. Yet in difficult times, it is easy to complain. The Apostle Paul wrote in the Bible wise insights on gratitude: Give thanks in all things, give thanks for all things and give thanks at all times.

When I give thanks by faith, I find God is at work making something beautiful out of hard times of life. Gratitude has transformational power.

THREE: Principles of faith lead from success to significance. Daily moving from success to significance starts with service, leaving a lasting mark in the lives of others, who in turn will influence the lives of future generations. We all need to be needed. Serving others, focusing on their needs, brings us help and healing from the disease of inverted eyeballs. Significance means I focus my energies, thoughts and prayers on meeting the needs of people I encounter.

FOUR: Prayer is essential to overcoming difficult times. When I work, I work. When I pray, God works. Work is our part, prayer accesses the power of God himself. Prayer is communicating with God about everything. Prayer thanks God for all he has done, is doing and will do.

At times it seems God does not answer a prayer the way we want. However, God consistently answers prayer! Sometimes God's answer is, "Yes, immediately." Other times, "Wait awhile ... I am in the process of working things out." Other answers might appear to be, "No,"  but are really "I have a better plan."

Asking God for his good, perfect and acceptable will is the best way to pray. Faith offers hope and healing for difficult times.

Wendell Amstutz,Rochester

Amstutz is coordinator of Rochester National Day of Prayer, which will be broadcast on KAAL-TV May 7 at 6:30 p.m.