Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. James 1:2-4 ESV
Count Your Blessings
I was cranky and crabby. I was full of self-pity and sadness. But Christmas was fast-approaching whether I was feeling festive or not.
I was so caught up in unanswered prayers that I had forgotten about the amazing number of answered prayers in my life.
It was time to make a list. Time to count my blessings.
The list flowed effortlessly right away. A relationship with Jesus topped the list. Family, friends and the numerous personality traits and gifts they bring to our lives filled figurative pages of that list. (Side note: As a new grandma, I could easily dedicate a chapter of blessings to our new grandson alone!) Experiences, sweet gestures, people who have impacted me, family vacations, church families, homes, jobs, physical health, caring communities, and the list continued…
After the obvious blessings were tallied, a Bible passage came to mind; “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” James 1:2-4
Count Your Trials
Count it all joy? All of it? Let me get this straight…On my list of blessings, I am supposed to count the trials? I quickly asked God, “Don’t You get that the point of this list is to get trials off of my mind?” (As if He sometimes doesn’t “get” things, and I have to explain…)
The more I thought about it, the more I realized, God “got it” just fine. He completely grasped the fact that I was thankful when things went my way, when my life looked the way I pictured it, and when I did not have to persevere through tests of faith. He also “got” that I was missing out on a major truth. Our trials produce a perseverance in us that help us become who God is trying to mold us into. And becoming that person that He created us to be – the person He gave us the abilities, gifts, and personality traits through which we can show who He is to a world that is in desperate need of Him – is why we are here on this earth.
As James says, perseverance through difficult times will produce a life that is “lacking in nothing.” A person who is living that type of life counts it all when they compose a blessing list.
I Have All I Need
From now on, when I approach God with a prayer request, I refuse to allow an attitude of, “Look at what I’m lacking, Lord” to be my theme. My new goal is to recognize the truth that I already have all I need, and that I can choose to find joy in trials.
As the song says, “Count your blessings, name them one by one,
Count your blessings, see what God hath done! Count your blessings, name them one by one, And it will surprise you what the Lord hath done.”
And surprise me He did. Once I began counting, He lengthened my list and mended my mindset.
Friend, if you are looking at what you are lacking in life, I encourage you to instead start making your blessing list. Soon you will discover you are “lacking in nothing.”
Count your many blessings. Count them all!
Philippians 4:19 And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.
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Gwen Thielges is from North Dakota where she is an author, blogger, and worship leader. She encourages readers to strive toward a deeper faith and a wider witness.