Thanksgiving Two

3 A.M. is a lonely hour. There is little to sway your thoughts as you peer into the darkness outside to try to determine what that howling wind is doing to the trees in the neighborhood. You look over and notice that the lights are on in a neighbor’s house and you wonder what they might be doing up at this hour. Mostly, you are alone with your thoughts, undeterred by the work of the day ahead.

You examine your life and reflect upon how you come to find yourself precisely where you are. The struggles and heartbreaks that you have endured have not always been welcome companions. As a follower of Christ, perhaps you thought that things would be different. Maybe things would be easier and a certain level of comfort and success might be yours. As your mind looks out into the early morning blackness you wonder why things couldn’t be different. Your Bible opens to James and you read a well known passage…

Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. (James 1:2-4)

This may be one of the greatest challenges that the Christian faces on their journey through this world. The message that bombards us is that trials are not what we should be facing, the road should be smooth and wide. When travails become the norm, well-wishers ask us to look at what we might have done to bring this on ourselves. “Are you being punished for something?” they unknowingly ask. The Bible reader, on the other hand, discovers that these things are from the hand of God for the benefit of his sons and daughters.

James says to consider it PURE JOY when trials come into our lives because this means that our Father is strengthening us and maturing us for what comes ahead. When we begin to  look at things in this way, suddenly our perspective on everything that comes our way shifts. Our reflection on struggle A or trouble B moves from the woe is me, why is this happening stage to the thank you God, what should I be learning from this stage in life vantage point. When each trouble, big or small, increases our trust in the ultimate goodness of God we become more and more aware of how thankful we should be for these troubles. And thanks we will give…

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2 thoughts on “Thanksgiving Two

  1. I feel that pain, suffering and trials might, at times, be a test. A test of our faith, our character, and our love for God. It tends to make us bitter or better.

    They make us bitter if they lead us to doubt, and wrong conclusions, about why God has allowed our pain.

    They make us better if our hearts and minds are opened to the goodness, love, and restoring powers of God.

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