James 1:2-4 NRSV:  “My brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of any kind, consider it nothing but joy, because you know that the testing of your faith produces endurance; and let endurance have its full effect, so that you may be mature and complete, lacking in nothing.”

None of us have been exempt from adversity over the past year.  We’ve all faced it in one way or another.  Some of us have faced what we might call minor bumps in the road while others have been hit with absolutely tragic circumstances.  Some of us are living our lives in solitude, having temporarily given up time with friends and family, while others have lost friends and family until we can be reunited in Heaven above.  Getting through a challenge is never easy and rarely do we see any “silver lining” while in the midst of it.  That truth is amplified when the adversity lasts for days, weeks, or even months.

However, when we get to the other side of the adversity, we find a way to count our blessings and move forward in our faith.  James 1:2-4 provides us with a “secret recipe” that can help us find joy and blessings in the midst of adversity rather than waiting until the end to rediscover these emotions.  Knowing that God is in control and that He is shaping us and building us in every moment gives us reason to celebrate, even when celebrations are the furthest from our minds.

When I was young, my father would send me and my siblings off to school with the same phrase every day: “It’s gonna be a great day, kids!”  I remember lashing out at him on at least one occasion, claiming that there was no way he could already know first thing in the morning that the day was going to be “great!”  Of course, as my faith matured, I came to understand what he was doing.  If you begin each day by proclaiming your willingness to see God’s great work, your day WILL be great!

Dear Heavenly Father, Open our eyes to all the good that You are doing each and every day.  Help us see Your works first, above any adversity that we may face here on earth.  Amen

Charlie Poag