The Greatest Gift


Since it’s Christmas time, I have a question for you. What’s the best gift you ever received? Some of you might say a ring, or a car, or a bike, or a child. Each of us will have different answers depending on where we are in life, but I’m pretty sure that none of you said that going through difficult times was the greatest gift you ever got. However, looking back on your life, and seeing how that dark time made you into who you are today, you might want to reconsider. Yes, I’m suggesting your darkest days could be the greatest gift you’ve ever received,

Most of us think of those times, and try to put them behind us, or pretend that they never existed. But I believe God uses those times to move us into position for our future, to develop in us the qualities of character necessary for the future He has for us, and to grow our faith in Him. James 1:2-4 says, “Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don’t try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way” (MSG).

Those final sentences are tough for us to hear. When we are in a trial or test, we want them to end quickly. We pray and beg God to get us out of them. When we do get out of them early, the work is unfinished that He was trying to do. In Max Lucado’s book “The Anvil”, he writes that of God has you in these times, rejoice. It means He still thinks you’re worth reshaping. He hasn’t discarded you as useless and put you with the other tools the He no longer uses.

If you happen to be going through one of these times right now, I’d like you to look at the next verse in James. It says, “If you don’t know what you’re doing, pray to the Father. He loves to help. You’ll get his help, and won’t be condescended to when you ask for it.” God will be there to help you through instead of out of it. Pray for His help, but also pray to ask Him to develop in you what He needs to during this time. Right now it may not seem like a gift, but what God does in us during the hardest times is often one of He greatest gifts He gives.

Photo by freestocks on Unsplash

2 Comments

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2 responses to “The Greatest Gift

  1. You’ve brought up a great point, Chris. The painful times often do more to instruct than the blissful ones.

    My favorite Christmas gift (of all time) is a Jesus action figure my youngest son gifted me when he was about 17. It showed me that he’d been watching my life and knew what really mattered to me—my faith.

    Thank you for your consistent presence here and your excellent content. As I believe I’ve told you before, I’ve never read a Chris Hendrix post that I thought was a dud.
    In fact, your blog has served as a template for how I write mine: always tell a story, don’t make it too long, share some pertinent scriptures, and invite the reader to respond.
    Merry Christmas Eve to you and yours. Blessings.

    • What greater gift could you receive that knowing your kids saw your faith and followed in your footsteps.
      Thank you again. I developed the template over years of writing here. I always want to connect first with a relevant story that shows how a truth of God may appear. I then want to show examples in the Bible. Finally add a scripture to think on with a call to action. I do my best to keep it less than 500 words which requires a lot of thought. There’s usually a lot more I can say. I simply ask myself, “What is the main point I want someone to walk away with?” After that, I begin writing with the purpose of helping the reader walk away with something useful.
      I spend a lot of time in prayer and study for each one of these. It’s more an act of obedience than anything else. It keeps my relationship with God fresh and always has me listening for God’s voice.
      Thank you for your presence too and for your consistent encouragement. I appreciate it.
      Merry Christmas!

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