The words in this graphic were written by James, and put in the New Testament book by the same name. Mary was the mother of James and also the mother of Jesus, so they are half-brothers. Just imagine having Jesus as a brother in your house and in your family! In Galilee, where they grew up, I’d venture to say, they had both suffering and cheer.
You see, sometime along the way, their earthly father, Joesph died. It is mentioned that “both parents“ were looking for Jesus in the Temple in Jerusalem when he was just twelve years old, and they found Jesus “sitting among the religious teachers, listening to them and asking questions.” (Luke 2:46 NLT). But after that, there is no mention of Joseph in the remainder of the New Testament.
Jesus and James lived through the untimely death of their earthly father. They understood suffering, first hand. In their culture, fathers and husbands were the sole support structure, and I’m sure Jesus and James worked hard in their garden and carpenter shop after the death of Joseph.
In our culture, we don’t often think the words ”suffering” and “cheer” belong together, but it honestly is a great combination. You see, prayer and praise CAN go hand in hand. If we are sad, suffering, in sorrow or pain, we need prayer. We need to share our sadness with our Heavenly Father, trusting in his provision. And when we have happy events and cheerful times, we need to share our thankfulness by praising our Heavenly Father. There is always a time for both!
After our son Matthew died, the anguish of his death led me into extreme sorrow. If you have suffered a tragic loss, you know exactly what I mean. And I got stuck in that severe pain, but what helped to lift me out of the “pit” was this thought:
“ I need to appreciate what I still have over what I have lost.
I need to thank God daily for the blessings I have over the
blessings I lost.”
And out of that mindset our “Thank You Book“ was born. Oh, it was just a plain, ordinary, ruled paper notebook, but every day, we wrote down something that we were thankful for, some word of praise for which we could say, “Oh, Lord, You are a generous God, and we are grateful to you for ____________. Some days it was only one thing, but the more we opened our heart to praise and gratitude, the more cheerful we became.
How about you? Are you stuck in a negative and angry mindset? Think about this: what good people, what good events, what pleasant blessings do you still have over what you have lost?
What pleasant memories still linger in your mind? What unexpected blessings have come your way? What beauty do you still enjoy in nature? Who still loves you?
Then praise and thank God for every blessing, both great and small, and I promise it will bring cheer to your heart.
”This is the day the LORD has made. We will rejoice and be glad in it. Please LORD, please save us. Please LORD, please give us success.” Psalm 118:24-25 NLT