Count It All Joy

Today’s scripture: James 1:2-3 (NRSV) (The Message) (KJV) What might God be saying to me?

My thoughts (Lynnette Pullen-Bradford):

I am grateful for many things in life, but the things I am most thankful for, are the things that, at first, brought me the most pain.

I am grateful for being rejected and isolated as a child. It helps me be compassionate and embrace those whom I am tempted to reject.

I am grateful to have loved and not be loved in return. It was then that I learned to love without expectation.

I am grateful for the times in life where I have reached the end of myself and could go no further. That’s when I learned to walk in faith.

I am grateful to have been misunderstood and judged. It pushes me to dig deeper and investigate further.

I am grateful to have been betrayed by someone I love. It taught me how to treat others the way I want to be treated instead of how they’ve treated me.

I am grateful for experiencing a level of fear that bordered insanity. From it, I learned to tell the difference between reality and illusion.

I am grateful to have been underestimated. It was then that I learned to push myself and achieve heights I never thought possible.

I am grateful to have held a dying hand. It was then that I got a glimpse of the glorious home that awaits us on the other side.

I am grateful to have been humiliated. It teaches me to treat all people with respect and honor.

I am grateful for being abandoned. It taught me to reach out to the lonely and the hurting.

I am grateful for the many tears I’ve cried. From them, I learned how to heal brokenness.

I am grateful to have been targeted and isolated. It forced me to learn how to stand, even if I am standing alone.

Finally, I am grateful for the Bible. To me, it is not some dusty old book full of antiquated ideas. It is a collection of sacred works, filled with timeless teachings, worthy of the time and effort it takes to rightly divide and responsibly study.

Without it, I would be intolerant, unloving, skeptical and critical, never searching for the underlying truth and only believing in what I could physically understand.

I’d be untrusting, fearful and displaced and, as such, isolate myself hoarding my pain, never learning how to heal the hurt.

I wouldn’t be willing to press through difficult situations, so, I’d never reveal the greatness within.

I’d undoubtedly find myself angry, disconnected and irreparably broken.

So, yes, I am grateful for the Bible. From it, I learned how to count it all joy.

Prayer for the day: God, sometimes the trials in life cause us such pain and seem to push us further away from You. Teach us, Lord, how to use these trials to bring the best out of us instead of the worse. Help us to lean closer to You when we want to run away. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

We encourage you to include a time of prayer with this reading. If you need a place to get started, consider the suggestions on the How to Pray page.