Ok, I am just going to be blunt:
James has never been one of my favorite men in the Bible. Not because of anything he did
per se, but more because of the fact that the chapters he penned in the Bible are the most convicting to my heart.
Pointed. Straight to the point. No ifs, ands or buts. My eyes roll without aid any time I am directed to that book.
I don’t mean to…it just happens.
“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds...
Do you see why my eyes begin to move around at the mention of this book. This is his opening line…his selling point…his “get the reader now or you will lose them” statement. And rather than using flowery terms of endearment to capture the hearts of his brothers and sisters, he goes straight for the kill: “When problems come up…when tragedy strikes…when you think you can’t take even another breath without crying…be of great joy!” Ya…. No.
I am currently reading Elizabeth George’s book Finding God’s Path Through Your Trials. I didn’t like the book when my buddy would quote it in emails, texts and her blog…I like it even less now that she has passed it along to me to read. But I know that my history shows that those things that I like the least often create the biggest changes because while my head hates the advice, my heart craves the closeness to my Maker…the kind that only comes from moving forward.
Mrs. George suggests that we think of trials in our lives as a bookkeeper would think of finances. Everything that comes in is either a bill (a debit from the account) or it is an income (a credit to the account). She goes over this verse found in first chapter of James and says that counting it all joy uses the same discipline. Each and every individual difficulty must be put in our ledger…and there are only two options: they go in as a sorrow (debit) or a joy (credit). We lift them up to Him, even when they don’t look or feel like joy, and we have to decide…do we trust His command given thru James? Do we believe Him when He says that if we count it as joy, He will use the results of our trusting to perfect and mature us? Is He honest? Does He mean what He says?
I drew on one page of my journal to give myself a visual reminder that I have only two choices when the troubles come:
1 – Let it lift me up to His perspective
2 – Let it pull me down under the waves that crash around me.
I’ve been under the water…and as much as I don’t like James, I HATE the feeling of liquid in my lungs.
Listening to Barlow Girls’ Mirror while looking up as always…