James: Handling the Hard Stuff of Life
When something we are working on doesn’t work the first time we have the tendency to give up on it, throw it out with the trash, or just throw it! Confess, I can’t be the only impatient one on the planet. We are, by nature, a very impatient people. But James is reminding us to “stay the course and don’t quit”, especially as God works to transform our very own lives. Aren’t we glad HE didn’t give up on us?
We are impatient with ourselves, wanting to be good and right in God’s eyes and then we mess up. Ugh! We become frustrated with ourselves with the thought of giving up. But no, don’t give up…dig in deeper and experience God’s love and care. He DOES care…about every detail. He will bring us through it, grow us in the process and amaze us with gracious fruit in our lives as the outcome. Stay connected to the Vine. Watch, learn, grow and “stay the course.”
Take on the old prophets as mentors, advises James. And don’t complain! Whining only makes matters worse and makes you look all wrinkled and old. Smile, even in the rain. You will feel better, look better and others will wonder what you are up to…you are looking up to God in all His glory. When our faces are turned up toward Him, it is only then can we reflect His glory shining down on us.
James 5, The Message
7-8 Meanwhile, friends, wait patiently for the Master’s Arrival. You see farmers do this all the time, waiting for their valuable crops to mature, patiently letting the rain do its slow but sure work. Be patient like that. Stay steady and strong. The Master could arrive at any time.
9 Friends, don’t complain about each other. A far greater complaint could be lodged against you, you know. The Judge is standing just around the corner.
10-11 Take the old prophets as your mentors. They put up with anything, went through everything, and never once quit, all the time honoring God. What a gift life is to those who stay the course! You’ve heard, of course, of Job’s staying power, and you know how God brought it all together for him at the end. That’s because God cares, cares right down to the last detail.
12 And since you know that he cares, let your language show it. Don’t add words like “I swear to God” to your own words. Don’t show your impatience by concocting oaths to hurry up God. Just say yes or no. Just say what is true. That way, your language can’t be used against you.
What do we learn?
–God cares. He really cares…and “delights in every detail” says the Psalmist. (#37)
–Stay the course, even when it gets rocky.
–In the end, God wins.
Dear Heavenly Father, What a comfort to know You care. You love us and you care for us. You care about us. You even delight in all the details of our lives. We are but a speck on the radar but you see us and know our names. Your love and care is beyond my thinking. I would have thrown me out years ago, but You didn’t. Thank you for consistently working in me to be and do what you intended from the beginning. I not quitting, Lord. I’m not there yet, but on my way!
In Jesus Name, Amen