“Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” James 1:2-4
This morning I started the book of James. [Insert stress face emoji here] Immediately I started off praying for conviction and a willing heart — not condemnation.
I think if we can get the first verse of this book, we have mastered this life. Giving thanks for the difficult areas in our life is not ever going to be a natural thing that we do. In fact, the bible says it’s actually a sacrifice on our part. Something we can daily give to God.
Psalm 50:14-15 says, “Make thankfulness your sacrifice to God and keep the vows you made to the Most High. Then call on me when you are in trouble, and I will rescue you, and you will give me glory.”
I’m learning that through some of the most excruciating pain, God has brought about the most growth and transformation. In the moment of pain though can we learn to thank God? I think starting with the small moments, the daily moments, and getting into the habit of thanksgiving, can train our hearts and minds to start looking for gratitude. So even if we can’t thank God for the cancer, the job loss, the heartbreak, we can start thanking him for the clean water, the freedom we have, the sunshine, the gentle breeze.
I’m currently reading One Thousand Gifts, A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are, by Ann Voskamp. She writes of the transformative power of thanks as she begins to keep a running journal throughout the day of all of the moments of gratitude. She says, “Gratitude for the seemingly insignificant–a seed–this plants the giant miracle. The miracle of eucharisteo (thanks), like the Last Supper, is in the eating of crumbs, the swallowing down one mouthful. Do not disdain the small. The whole of the life–even the hard-is made up of the minute parts, and if I miss the infinitesimals, I miss the whole.”
I encourage you today to look for the small moments of gratitude in your day. And see how God can start renewing your mind and life with the surprising gift of joy!
“Joy is the realest reality, the fullest life, and joy is always given, never grasped. God gives gifts and I give thanks and I unwrap the gift given: joy.” – Ann Voskamp