Count it All Joy

 by Mike Ratliff

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. If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways. (James 1:2-8 ESV)

Though if I should wish to boast, I would not be a fool, for I would be speaking the truth. But I refrain from it, so that no one may think more of me than he sees in me or hears from me. So to keep me from becoming conceited because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from becoming conceited. Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong. (2 Corinthians 12:6-10 ESV)

When I was about 10 or 12 years old we went to the Santa Fe Depot in the town I grew up in to meet the train my cousin was on. He and his mother and sisters were traveling from Dallas to see us in Purcell, Oklahoma. In any case, I was excited to see my cousin. As we waited for the train, I did the typical boy thing at a railroad depot. I explored. I found a box on a pole that looked like it had a thermometer in it. I tried to read the temperature, but something had fallen down in front of it. I hit the side of the box to loosen it. It turned out to be a Yellowjacket nest full of Yellowjackets.  The station manager yelled for me to run but it was too late. The next thing I knew I had Yellowjacket wasps all over me. They followed me wherever I went. I could not get away from them. They stung me through my shirt and continued to attack even as I fell to the ground and rolled, trying to get away from them.  Continue reading