November Gratitude Stone 20 Trials
James 1:2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds …
It would be easy for the early church to write off James as a whack job for such a comment. But Peter, Paul and others tell us similar things and offer joy as the way to live in spite of and because of suffering.
It is so much easier to thank God for the roses and not the thorns. Those are not the things for which we think to be grateful. Job is a man who experienced tragedy upon tragedy. He grieved, but in the midst of that he was able to say, “the Lord gives and the Lord takes away. Blessed be the name of the Lord.” (Job 1:21). There are countless others who lived gratefully, by faith, and the common lesson is that responding to adversity with hope and gratitude is not just limited to spiritual superheroes. Everyone has “stuff” and most of us never know about the trials and pain that others experience. There are names and stories that most never know, who endure the worst that this life has to offer and they still remain thankful and hopeful. Christ-centered, grace-filled hope and gratitude belongs everywhere, especially in the middle of the most difficult days of life.
Gratitude helps us to bounce back. It builds resilience. It provides sustenance and power. And this attitude is not natural. But it is what distinguishes Christians from the rest of the world. When we grieve we do not grieve as those without hope (1 Thess. 4:13). Hope floats. When the undertow of life in a fallen world threatens to pull us under, gratitude pulls us out of dangerous riptides by acting as a life preserver. I suppose the real issue is that most of us don’t choose to employ it. We, like Peter when he took his eyes of Jesus during the storm, tend to focus on the storm rather than the rescue.
So, I gratefully wait and I hope for the joy that comes in the morning!