Thursday, January 19, 2017

James: The Hard Thanks Giving


I'm not actually writing about having a hard Thanksgiving holiday today, but about giving thanks, even when it's hard. 

As you've probably seen in previous blog posts, I'm working my way through the James study that I finished writing a few days ago. It's a little unreal. Today's lesson was short, and I actually complained, "This is so short. What's up with that?" 

Then, I remembered. Oh, yeah. I wrote this. 

The objective in the brevity was to convey one single point, and leave it with us all day long.

There are blessings in the trials of life, and we should give thanks for them.

I remember, in my biggest trial, saying, "I only want to do this once, so I'm gonna do it the best I can." I meant it, too. 

When your heart is so broken it feels like your guts are being pulled out, you do not want a repeat performance. You want to be done with it. 

You do not want to be broken at the end of it. You want to emerge whole and healed.

That's what I determined to do. Truly, I was terrible at it. If God hadn't dragged me along, healed what I couldn't possible imagine could be healed, and grown that little bit of goodness I wasn't even sure existed, I don't know where I'd be.

But He did. And here I am, all these years later. Content. Healed. Full of peace, and hope, and joy.

When we encounter a trial, we can be certain it's designed and allowed by God to produce a deeper maturity in our lives. Our motivation to endure through the difficulty and suffering of our trial should be our love for Him and what He'll accomplish in us on the other side of it.

God never wastes suffering.

Never.

No matter how difficult our trial, no matter how intense the suffering, He is in there with us and He will always make it worth it.

We may not have the result we want, but we will always gain something worth having.

If you're in a trial today, take courage. God's in there with you. He's working in you to change you, make you more like His Son, Jesus. He'll do such a beautiful work in you that, years later, you will weep with gratitude. If you'll let Him.

You don't have to be good at going through a trial. No one's good at it. All you have to do is surrender to His perfect love and obey, every chance you get. Our sweet God can handle the rest.

I love what Paul said. This life of ours is a kind of marathon we run in order to receive a prize, one that will last forever. (1 Cor. 9:24-27) 

So run. And if you can't run, stumble along. Crawl if you must. But keep going and, before you know it, you'll make it through the trial and be a bit closer to that glorious day when we hear the words I most long to hear, "Well done, good and faithful servant." 

The short lesson this morning has pointed me back to gratitude, and I'll be giving thanks all day long. I hope you are, too.
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For those who have had a hard time downloading the James study to their phones, I'll divide it into separate blog posts this morning and you can access it that way. Links will be embedded. You won't need the BLB app.
If you'd like to participate in the James study, here's how: More than Enough: Living a Life Worth Living
If you missed yesterday's post, here's the link: Dry Bones and New Life 
If you'd like to help support this ministry, here's the link to give: Global Outreach Acct 4841