"Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like the shifting shadows" (James 1:17)
When I was expecting our first child I was incredibly sick. Many women struggle with nausea in pregnancy but this case was so severe it came with a diagnosis: hyperemesis gravidarum. Translation, mama can’t keep anything down, ever. But do you know, every single time I was laid out on that bathroom floor, hugging the porcelain throne, I was so grateful. That’s right, I was whispering prayers of thankfulness between heaves. Now listen, any other time I’ve dealt with vomit, be it mine or anyone else’s, my thoughts would not be appropriate to share on this forum. This time was different because of where we’d come from, what we’d been through to get to this place. My thankfulness came from a place of remembrance. We had been trying to have a child for three years. In the middle of those years there was a positive pregnancy test followed by the devastation of an early miscarriage.
The book of James is all about the testing of your faith and the realities that Christ followers will face. It would be great if the things promised involved self-cleaning homes, sugar being your healthiest food option and naps being a paid position. It doesn’t. I read it twice just to be sure. Unfortunately, what is does warn us of is trials, temptations, turbulence and sin. That sure sounds lovely.
But in the middle of the first chapter, amidst the unpleasantness there’s a little gem, a sweet reminder. James 1:17 says “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like the shifting shadows.” There are times in life when we find ourselves in a rut. We just feel stuck or trapped and wonder why God isn’t helping or answering our prayers like we want. When things are always easy we don’t get the chance to figure out how to grind through life’s challenges. It’s those challenges that make us who we are and most effectively teach us who He is.
God is good and because of His goodness His gifts are good. The hard times? They come from a different source. God doesn’t allow bad things to cross our paths to remind us how awful we are. That part of life is over. Gone. Grace covered us, now faith propels us to march on toward what and who we are to become.
So when life is wearing you down or you find yourself in the middle of a spiritually dry place, try thankfulness. When you lift your head up to the heavens to tell God how good He is it’s easier to remember the goodness He gives.
Prayer: Jesus, help me to remember that these days are a gift. That your love is so strong and so real. Show us how to be thankful in all things, even the moments that aren't fun.
Suggested Reading: 1 Timothy 6:16