This week, we read through the book of James. We read the forward (it's a study Bible) one night and a chapter a night after that. There were a few verses/sections that really hit home for me.
(Please note, all copied/pasted verses are from www.biblegateway.com and are the ESV, English Standard Version, translation.)1. James 1:2-4, 12 & 17-18
2 Count it all joy, my brothers,[b] when you meet trials of various kinds, 3 for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. 4 And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.12 Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him. 17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.[d] 18 Of his own will he brought us forth by the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures.
This one hit home for me. We're coming up on two years of marriage, which means two years of trying to have a baby...with no success, whatsoever. That may not seem like a trial for some, but for me, it certainly is. I feel like it IS a testing of my faith. There have been times where I was proven to be weak of faith during this test. These days, I have a strong faith that God knows what he's doing...even if it isn't when I'd like!! It IS producing steadfastness/perseverance in me. I don't feel as if I'm perfect and complete, because I do feel like I'm lacking in something. However, the other day, I was thinking that maybe if now's not the time for our baby(ies) to be here, that I am content being Vance's wife. I've throughly enjoyed our two years as husband and wife. I can't wait for another 70! (Yes....we are living that long. Deal with it!)
2. James 4:13-17
13 Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit”— 14 yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes.15 Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.” 16 As it is, you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil. 17 So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin.
This passage, again, hit home for me. How often do I sit and make plans? How often do I get bent out of shape when those plans don't go the way I want them to or think they should? All too often, to be quite honest! Don't get me wrong, planning is a good thing. Planning is wise. Planning is oftentimes much better than flying by the seat of your pants. HOWEVER, this passage is pointing out that making life plans without talking to God about it. What good are my plans for my life if God is not involved? Life is SO short, a mist or a vapor that disappears shortly after it appears. What good are my plans in such a short time if they are without God? God's will and plans are by far greater than anything I could possibly come up with. For instance, when Vance and I had our first date, I wasn't the least bit interested in him as a boyfriend, only a potential friend. We weren't even on a date...at first. It was just a time to hang out. But after the first...oh...5 minutes, I was INFATUATED with him...and apparently he with I. It's amazing what God will do when you're making plans for your life!
3. James 5: 13-16
13 Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing praise.14 Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. 15 And the prayer of faith will save the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. 16 Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.
As I was reading this last night, I felt a sense of comfort. How often have I prayed about my baby? How often have I screamed at God from the depths of my heart about my suffering? On the other hand, how often have I ignored God completely? How often have I turned away from him in my distraught moments? All too often. Probably more often than not. I am not righteous in those moments. I am not having the faith I should. However, when I do pray in my time of suffering, this verse assures me that God is listening. That God is working an amazing thing in my heart, family, and body. It is SO easy to sing praise when in a cheerful disposition. I am striving to make it just as easy to pray in my dark and sad moments.
Do you have any reflections you'd like to add? It can be from any part of the book of James, whether or not I reflected on it. Care to write a reflection next week?
Vance and I are starting 1 Peter (we are basically going through the General Epistles, James-Jude, right now.) We are reading the forward tonight, then we'll read chapter 1 Saturday, chapter 2 Sunday, chapter 3 Monday, chapter 4 Tuesday, chapter 5 Wednesday, and the forward to II Peter on Thursday. I'll then write a reflection from those chapters on Friday. Then...we'll continue on. If you'd like to join us, I'd love that! If you have a blog and want to write a reflection, make sure you tell me so I can check it out!
Have a great weekend!