Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Blessing through trials

“My brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of any kind, consider it nothing but joy,” James 1:2 (NRSV).

“Every generous act of giving, with every perfect gift, is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.” James 1:17 (NRSV).

I have been thinking about blessings. I think that everyone would agree that in general, we consider blessings as something tangible and good. Blessings include things like food, shelter, warmth, clothing, family and friends.

Hee Haw was comedy variety show that aired in the 1960’s and 1970’s. Archie Campbell was a regular on the show, and he performed a "That’s Good, That’s Bad" routine that went, for example, like this:

“Archie: Hey I guess you heard about my terrible misfortune.
Roy: No, what happened?
Archie: Yeah, my great uncle died.
Roy: Oh that's bad!
Archie: No that's good!
Roy: How's come?
Archie: Well, when he died, he left me 50,000 dollars
Roy: Oh that's good!
Archie: No that's bad…”

The routine continued on, with each action appearing to be both bad and good.

Perhaps it would be true to say that blessings are in the eye of the beholder. Winning a new car may be a blessing to some people, but to someone who does not have the means to pay the taxes, buy the insurance, and maintain the car, or pay for parking, a new car would seem like a burden to them.

Our lives are blessings from God. Our children are blessings from God, our spouse is a blessing from God, our homes are a blessing from God, and the food that we eat is a blessing from God. We must remember that everything is a blessing from God and keep this memory in the front of our thoughts because our blessings can sometimes feel like trials and problems. Children misbehave, sometimes to the point of causing parents to try to control the situation with anger. Spouses can do things that destroy the marriage. Our homes can become a tremendous financial burden for us, and the very food that is supposed to sustain our lives can cause health problems and obesity.

Our walk with Christ is meant to provide us with blessings in spite of our circumstances. Viewing our own lives, and the lives of our family and friends as blessings from God allows us to see ourselves and them as God sees us. God’s view of our lives is our true identity. When we walk with Christ and view our children as blessings, their misbehavior becomes less of a burden to us. When we view our spouse as a blessing from God, their transgressions become easier to forgive. We can then count it all joy, as James exhorts us to do.