Friday, May 10, 2024
Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "Dear Lord And Father Of Mankind"1 (Lyrics)

Three weeks after my knee surgery (see Blessings From Pain) I returned to the doctor, ready to be rid of the rigid leg brace. Its three metal bars dug into my leg and I was sure that my skin must be shrivelled and dry underneath. I sat in the examination room, happily thinking of my soon-to-come freedom.

Unfortunately, it was not to be. I didn't know that I had also torn the tendon that goes over the patella (kneecap). It needs longer to heal, so I was to have three more weeks of that repulsive brace. But that wasn't all. After that, I'll wear a hinged brace for three more weeks. Counting the days that I wore a brace before surgery, that's more than ten weeks of limited movement and depending on others. Depressing! As one of my friends said after I told him, "I understand. You've got places to go, people to see, and things to do, right?"

James 1:2-4 – Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing. (NLT)

Ironically, when I opened my journal the next morning, I saw that my prayer on the day of the appointment was, "Lord, help me consider troubles an opportunity for joy so my endurance will grow"!

Notice that James said when troubles come, not if they come. Sometimes, we create them, and sometimes, they come our way unsolicited, but they will come. They may be small, as when my car began to leak oil after I'd just had it changed, or more life-changing, like my knee surgery. So, what do we do?

First, James says, "consider it an opportunity for great joy" — evaluate the way that we look at trials. We can choose to respond with "poor me" or we can choose to see what God has in it for us to grow. This is a daily struggle for me, but I'm getting better every day.

James 1:5a – If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. (NLT)

We can all grow in wisdom. Searching the Scriptures will reveal His will to us. He may also reveal it in other ways, through sermons, books by trusted authors, or wise words from friends.

Psalm 34:1 – I will praise the Lord at all times. I will constantly speak his praises. (NLT)

I have a screenshot on my phone that states, "You can rewire your brain to be happy by simply recalling three things you're grateful for every day for 21 days." How much more so if we praise the Lord at all times and constantly!

Prayer: Lord, sometimes, we'd much rather sit and wallow in our pain or problems. Help us, instead, to look at them as a way to grow, to ask You for wisdom, and to praise You, even if we don't feel like it. Amen.

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About the author:

Sharon Cook <craftercook@gmail.com>
Apache Junction, Arizona, USA

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1 Comment

  • PresbyCan Feedback says:

    With thanks.

    Thanks for the encouraging words, Sharon.

    Thank you, Sharon, for your special words today. I really needed this message!

    Greetings Sharon and I’m sorry to hear of the extended time you have to wait for total healing. May the Lord give you courage and much strength as you go forward. Blessings for your these writings you share.

    Sharon, This has been an ongoing theme in my life too. I think of joy, not as fleeting, but as enduring joy. I’m learning that trials, barriers, delays, and setbacks are opportunities to look up and beyond that wall – for something better which God has prepared for us.

    Well, Sharon, would you please help me work on my lower back pain that has responded to no treatment? Actually, you already did…I am truly blessed and by sitting down for a while, the pain goes away. Thanks again for your thoughtful message and prayers for that knee!

    Wow! Praise God for health care that has allowed you to keep your knee – in spite of the long wait. Praise God for your reflection here, that reminds us to be thankful in ALL things, ALL the time . It’s just that it’s so much easier said than done. May the LORD follow you with His loving arms of strength, humility, and comfort, all through this valley. I often remind myself that there are some very lovely plants that only grow in the shade). May you see, and experience many, in the next number of weeks. I pray always in the Name of our loving Lord, Jesus Christ. Amen.

    Oh Sharon, may you feel God’s loving embrace uphold you in your time of trouble. You have my empathy. When I was a very active teenager, a field hockey teammate whacked at the ball with her stick but got my ankle instead which I promptly followed by carelessly stepping into an unseen gopher hole causing an audible snap that sent me to the ground. Mother took me to the county hospital to be fitted with a plaster cast … a real bummer for this overactive teenager. So you most definitely have my prayers. Blessings.

    Good morning, Sharon,
    Wow, that definitely is endurance and one day you will be “perfect and complete, needing nothing”. Something wonderful to look forward to. If I am honest, “an opportunity of great joy” is harder, but God will help us with his wisdom, if we ask. Thanks for sharing and I hope that your knee will be healed and working perfectly, and your faith will grow. I do like to start my day with thoughts of gratitude which definitely create a feeling of peace and comfort as the day unfolds. Thanks for sharing and all the best.

    Good morning, Sharon,
    We do indeed have many things to be thankful for, It is 25 years ago that I had Therapy for cancer and was cancer free until 2 years ago. I will know soon how the last tests were, a CT Scan. I figure if there was something showing they would have called me.
    There is a saying I use to my grandchildren all the time, “Er is niets so beroerd of er is een eind aan.” Translation: There is nothing so miserable that there is no end to it. Just hang in there.

    Dear Sharon ,
    Thanks so much for your devotional today, it came at a perfect time for me. I am home after total knee replacement and have been struggling with a lot of swelling and my leg is so tigh , even into my foot. The Bible verses you had for your devotional were perfect, thanks so much. I am going to print off this devotional to have handy to read often.
    Thanks so much.
    I will keep you in my prayers also.
    Blessing to you each day.
    (Ontario. Canada)

    Hi Sharon,
    Your devotional this morning came at the right time. Pain kept me awake all night! I understand your frustration and I admire your faith at the same time. We should start a new movement called the “Have been there and done that Club”. Even though we are 24 hours apart (driving time) we are very close through prayer and good old-fashioned “stick with it attitude”. Your encouragement through suffering – both yours and mine – is greatly appreciated.
    Romans 8:18 – “For I consider [from the standpoint of faith] that the sufferings of the present life are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is about to be revealed to us and in us!” (AMP)
    God bless you!

    Thanks for sharing that, Sharon. I relate to what you are saying.
    Many years ago, when my mother-in-law had to be in a wheelchair for a while, I marvelled at her attitude. She would laugh and say she loved the attention. People would open doors for her, she got special seating in restaurants, friends and family helped out. She revelled in it.
    I kept thinking that I’d be chomping at the bit and struggling with not being able to do things myself. I thought that my attitude was normal.
    A couple of years ago, I fractured my spine and had to curtail my activities significantly.
    I remembered my mother-in-law’s attitude. The week I fell we got a Ukrainian woman, new to Canada, to come in and help out. Not only did she keep my house spotless, she helped us with all kinds of chores because my husband was recovering from surgery. The Ukrainian woman needed the income, and she needed friends in her new country. Win-win.
    I could go on forever about how God blessed us through that unusual time in our lives. We made friends with the cleaning lady and, although she has a full-time job, she still helps us out regularly. We look on her like family.
    Someone who reads your devotional may be helped significantly by heeding your suggestion to “re-wire” their brain. I certainly learned from my mother-in-law.
    Thanks again.

    Beautifully said. Thank you.

    Hello, Sharon. I am feeling for you as I wore those nasty braces after breaking my knee falling down the stairs when I was 85. I live alone and tried to be resourceful and not grumble. It was hard but all was well, and I can walk two miles daily now. I look at those braces sitting in my basement and am thankful that they were available for me. God was and is good. I love the book of James and try to be grateful and learn from the trials and I know you do as well. Thanks for your devotional.

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