James 1:2-4 ESV

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.

I never really was able to wrap my head around these verses before. Since I was diagnosed with squamous cell carcinoma originating on the base of my tongue, God has placed me on a path that has truly illuminated the meaning of trials, joy, testing, steadfastness, etc…

If God sees fit, this blog is to highlight for you how God has moved in my life and help you understand how and why I find joy in my situation.

God bless those who pray for me, my family, my doctors and caregivers. Thanks to all who have supported us through a difficult time. I hope my path highlights God’s hand moving in this situation and that I can reflect His glory through it.

The first thing I had to learn was that this was all about Him, not me!

27 thoughts on “James 1:2-4 ESV

  1. I am so very proud to call you my husband. I know this is not the path you would have chosen but it is the path you were given and I know that God is with you/us every step of the way. Praying for God’s light to shine thru you so that others will see His glory in all you do. I love you!

  2. I just want to tell you Alan how much I love,respect and admire you . You are my dear cousin and have loved you since you we’re a little boy, your parents and you have always been such remarkable people and all full of Love !!! The Light always shines from you and The Lord knows how special you are and I know he is right by your side . You have a beautiful wife and children and know they love you with all there being. I love you Alan and proud to call you my cousin, my friend and please call me if you need anything…????

  3. Alan,
    Every time I think of you I see God. The things you have gone through, that should have taken you life and didn’t, shows that God loves you. He is holding you in His hands. As in the poem “Footsteps in the Sand”, I see him carrying you.
    You are an inspiration to me and from you I learn.
    May God Be with you and your family.

  4. I see God through you Alan Black! I still cannot tell you how much my visit with you, Lori and the sweet Kitty Cats made my day, my life and my year. You touched my heart so deeply. I have always loved you all so much and truly have missed the times that we all would get together and cook out or just hang around outside and talk. You have always been such a kind and giving person and so smart. I can see why God chose you to spread his love, his word and his works in life. You are so strong and such a blessing to so many. I know that if you heard it once, you have heard it a million times about how strong you are but you know people truly mean that and you and I both know that it is thru the Lord that you get your strength, your will and your desire to march on with testimony. Don’t you dare give up because God is already working his plan with you! I love you my dear sweet friend, Sherri

  5. Alan, I’m so proud of how brave you are, facing this head on! Keep it up, neighbor and brother in Christ!
    Kathy Brown
    “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height no depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:38 & 39

  6. Dear Alan,
    We are keeping you, Lori and the kids in our constant prayers as well as my very close Catholic friends. Ronnie keeps me up with what’s going with you and I know it has been a constant battle for all of you. Stay positive is my best advice and surround yourself with positive people. We keep this poem by our bedside to remind us we are survivors…
    What Cancer Cannot Do
    Cancer is so limited…
    It cannot cripple Love
    It cannot shatter Hope
    It cannot corrode Faith
    It cannot destroy Peace
    It cannot kill Friendship
    It cannot suppress Memories
    It cannot silence Courage
    It cannot invade the Soul
    It cannot steal eternal Life
    It cannot conquer the Spirit.
    Much love to you,
    Kathy & Mark

  7. AB,

    What a great way to share the journey and faith with your family and friends. As I have shared many times, I find strength and inspiration in the way you live your life. Which is with courage, joy, faith and love.

    Keep up fighting the good fight my brother!

    Proverbs 27:17

  8. Alan,
    This blog is really great. I am so glad you are doing this, and by this you will reach many people with your story and about how great our Heavenly Father is! You are a great friend and encouragement to me. Let me know if you need anything brother!
    I will talk to you soon – sorry we missed each other this Sunday.

    Be strong and courageous,

    Titus 3:4-7

  9. AB your blog is great!! You and your family are always in our prayers..
    You are a true warrior!!!
    I enjoyed our time chasing Thunder Chickens this year, and I am looking forward to when we can hunt again.. Deer season is only 5 months away.

    Love ya Brother!!

  10. I think of you , Lori and the children all the time. I don’t know what to say except that I love you and will do what ever you’ll ask. I hope your chemo after effects are beginning to wear off some. I will call you tomorrow up in the day so you can sleep in. Can’t us the cell phone at home anyway, so I will call you from church and work. Emily Smith, don’t know her last name now, told me you put a frog down her shirt when you were both little, good work. Sounds like standard Black behavior. Everyone is looking forward to getting their T shirts, Karen Smith must ask me 3 or 4 times a week, just keep us unformed and we will come get them. I am working on my teaching lesson for Vacation Bible School in June. I will be teaching a group of adults and am teaching on the power of prayer. Hope I will be worthy of the subject!! Love to all of you from me an Miss Letty.

    Uncle Pete

  11. I am so glad that you have this blog.. It is a great way to share your story.. I know that God has a plan for you and your family. Just remember we love you very much. If you need anything please give us a call. Love You!!!!!

  12. Alan,

    You don’t know me yet. You never know how GOD’s going to work. Whether HE’ll encourage another through you in the checkout line at the grocery store when you’re faithful to share what HE’s asking you to. Or maybe it’s the guy at the gas pump, or maybe the guy who works in the locksmith shop you visit who hears from GOD that he needs to pray for you. Maybe it’s some guy from Virginia who’s playing Farkle on Facebook against a fella named Jon Caruvana who has a “Pray for Alan” profile picture. Maybe that guy started asking Jon about the “Pray for Alan” profile pic, heard about Alan’s situation and decided to pray for Alan. Maybe that guy also found his way to this blog and gained some encouragement from Alan’s “Count it all Joy!” perspective in the midst of what most would rightfully argue is not fair.

    We know life’s not fair. We also know GOD is good. I just want to take a moment to pray for you, your wife Lori (saw her name in the post above) & your kids. You have a beautiful family (saw them on your FB page which is where I found the link here.)

    ALMIGHTY GOD, the one and only true GOD, maker of heaven and earth, hallowed be YOUR name. YOUR kingdom come, here on the earth and in our hearts and lives. YOUR will be done here on this earth just the same as in heaven. Thank YOU LORD for all the provision we need today, and we ask and are grateful that YOU forgive us as, with YOUR help, we forgive others. LORD we thank YOU for working in us to overcome temptation and for delivering us from evil, for we know that YOURS is the kingdom and power and glory forever. So be it!

    GOD, we thank YOU for Alan & for the blessing he is. We thank YOU for strengthening him, Lori and their family through this trial. I thank YOU for YOUR word and for YOUR promise that YOU will keep us in perfect peace as we fix our thoughts on YOU. I thank YOU LORD that YOU never tire of us, that YOU never give up on us, YOU never throw us away, but that YOU delight in us, that YOUR anger lasts for a moment in time, but YOUR favor is here and will be on us for all our lifetime. Thank YOU LORD that YOU’ve turned our mourning into dancing! Thank YOU LORD for YOUR word that says YOU never leave us or forsake us, that says though we will have trouble pain and fear we can be of good cheer for YOU have overcome the world, that says we can look to the hills where our help comes, from YOU LORD, that YOU are the maker of earth and heaven and nothing is too hard for YOU, that though the sorrow may last for the night, YOUR joy comes in the morning, that YOU are our GOD and YOU are in our midst, the mighty one who will save; that YOU rejoice over us with joy and we rest in YOUR love; and YOU rejoice over us with singing.

    LORD, I ask that YOU, the great physician, sovereignly move in Alan’s life to bring a complete healing of his body and restoration of any function lost to this sickness.

    I thank YOU LORD for YOUR peace that transcends all understanding to permeate the Black home, guarding their hearts and minds and that YOU GOD our hope fill Alan and Lori with all joy and peace as they trust in YOU so that they may overflow with hope by the power of YOUR HOLY SPIRIT. (Rom. 15:13)

    So be it!

    GOD bless you Alan & Lori.

    Here are some links to some music that I know will be a blessing to you.The music is great but the lyrics and the heart of absolute worship from which they are offered are what, for me, make them exceptional. Enjoy.

    (For whatever reason, Grooveshark doesn’t like to play on Firefox. Best played on Internet Expelorer)

    Tommy Walker “Lord I run to You” from the album “Make it Glorious”

    LORD I run to YOU, no one else will do
    LORD in troubled times, I will run straight to YOU
    Though my heart and flesh may fail, YOU’re my ever present help
    My tower of strength, My portion evermore

    LORD I run to YOU, no one else will do
    LORD YOU said we’d face trouble pain and fear
    but to be of good cheer, for YOU have overcome the world

    I lift my eyes up to the mountains
    Where does my help come from? It comes from YOU LORD.
    YOU are the maker of earth and heaven, and there is nothing that’s to hard for YOU








    • Brad,

      It has taken me a little while to reply to your note on my blog. First of all because I was overwhelmed and then secondly because treatment time rolled around again. However, this trip to the cancer center was different. We got great news. Our current chemo regimen has the cancer in a hasty retreat. We have made great progress since early April and it is all to the Glory of God!! Thank you for your post. Thank you for your obviously heartfelt prayer. The power of prayer is amazing.

      Best of life to you and yours.

      • Fantastic news! I’m absolutely thrilled! We have a very skilled and quite successful “great physician”. He’s definitely our “Primary Care Provider”. 🙂

        I’ve experienced things like this for so many years but it still amazes me how GOD sets up these divine appointments. Really….what are the chances, in the natural, that we’d cross paths like this? Even better….I ran into Jon in a Farkle game just now. We recognized each other & we were rejoicing over your good report. We’ve become FB friends. Why’d all this happen? How will GOD use it? Always amazes me!

        Really overjoyed to hear your good news! I’m glad salvation isn’t just reserved for getting us to heaven, ’cause, truth be told, I need salvation (from the enemy’s schemes, dumb choices I make, etc) on a regular basis. Jesus is always saving me from something, lol.

        In the inimitable words of Paul Harvey, I’m excited to hear “the rest of the story” in your victory over this challenge.

        Blessin’s on ya!

  13. Alan,
    I wanted to let you know how I love seeing you and Lori at CTCA. I really hate that I missed you today! You always have a “glow” about you. I can still remember the first day I met you guys. You touched my soul and I thank you for that. I wish you peace and pray for you often.
    See you soon I hope!
    Shellie (surgery nurse)

  14. Alan,

    We just wanted you to know that we pray for you and your family daily. You are an inspiration to many people. We are happy to hear you received good news. Please call us if there is anything we can do for you or your family.


    Jan & Billy

  15. Alan,I am so blessed to know and love you and your family. Your Dad and Sally keep us posted, and what a thrill today when he and your son came by and gave such a great report on you. You have been a part my pray life for such a long time, and this past Sunday one of the ladies in our church ask about you as we had not had an update in a few weeks. She will also be thrilled when she hears how GOD has and will be glorified in and through this trial in your life. It will be a great honor to report such a praise to the Glory of HIS name this week.
    In CHRIST Love John

  16. Alan, i hope your pain has lessened. The choir and the church as a whole keep lifting you up before the Lord. My heart breaks for your pain, yet rejoices at the witness you are to so many people. may God grant you a good day today.

  17. Alan, you and Lori have been such an inspiration to our family. The strength and grace with which you are fighting this battle is a true testament to your faith in God. Y’all have been amazing witnesses to so many and you have touched the lives of so many. Our family is praying for you and your sweet family and we know how Awesome God is and his love never fails. He loves each of you so much and we pray that he will keep You in His loving arms through this. We are here for y’all and whatever you need. Love y’all!

  18. Have not seen you since Barbara Ann funeral. So sorry for your pain. Prayers for you and your family. Tell your Dad I said hi. Bless you.

  19. Praying for all of you! I finally learned how to use this. Great seeing you guys! Have a blessed Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year filled full of Jesus and Him taking care of all of you! We love you bunches!

  20. I met Alan and Lori tonight for the first time. Sometimes when you meet someone for the first time you just know you have met someone very special. This was one of those times. These are to two amazing special people. I am so honored that I have had a chance to met them and they have had touched my life forever. You can just see God working through them and providing them with strength. Through all the hard times they are going through the are still able to bless others. The only words that I can say is AMAZING!!!!

  21. I was glad to know Alan in high school. I just heard Alan has gone home to glory. I am sad although I know he is dancing with the Lord in love! Alan was one of the nicest souls I have ever met. My prayers and love are with you and your family Alan!

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