Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness James 1:2-3 ESV.
When considering our blessings, a list seems easy when we can count good health, financial security, pleasures, and even people we love. But, should we add such things as pain, failures, and stress?
Is pain a blessing? Imagine being pain free. We’d have no twinges or sharp sensations signaling something is wrong and needs attention. Our nerves are made to send danger messages to the brain, so we can process and address the source. Without such indications, we could become incapacitated or die.
What about failures? All of us have them, but our response makes the difference in how we count them. Someone told Thomas Edison he was wasting his time trying to create the light bulb, because he had failed over a thousand times. He said they weren’t failures, but just unsuccessful ways to finding one that would work. Failures can be stepping-stones to successes.
Being thankful for stress seems counterintuitive, but studies show some benefits. The University of Buffalo surveyed 2400 people for four years. Those who reported more adversity and difficulties had better mental health and well-being than those who had less. And stress in nature can be positive:
· Without struggling to shed its cocoon, the caterpillar would not become a butterfly.
· Without pressure and heat, a piece of coal would not become a diamond.
· Without an irritating grain of sand, the oyster would not produce the pearl.
Pain, failures and stress are never part of life’s pleasurable experiences, but they have purpose. We should list them with gratitude, counting them as God’s blessings in disguise.
“. . . give thanks in all circumstances” 1 Thessalonians 5:18b