Monday, July 25, 2011

James 1

There are times when I am too lazy to share things on my blog because of the amount of writing that is required to adequately explain the topic.  This is one of those topics; I have so much to share that I am overwhelmed and I don't know where to start or how much to write.

A bible passage has been speaking to me in recent weeks; Several weeks ago Pastor Brian spoke about how we are blessed with adversities; the Christian radio preachers have been speaking about the same subject, and again yesterday during Mr. Jackson's message the Holy Spirit got a hold of me and said, "You must blog about this."

James 1:2-7
"2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters,[a] whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. 4 Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. 5 If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. 6 But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. 7 That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord."

Do I "consider it pure joy" when things go wrong?  I would like to say "yes," but the truth is that I whine and complain like a real pro when things don't go exactly as I envision. "Considering it pure joy" ranks right up there with "in everything give thanks."  But even when I cry out to God in my frustration and anger, I know that He is using my situation for my own good.  So should I just smile and be happy (*insert Bobby McFerrin music*)?  I don't infer that meaning from this passage.

Instead, the joy comes from knowing that the outcome will be good.  Gold must be refined in a hot fire in order to be purified. The same is true for me in particular.  .For example:

  • When my gf dumped me harshly and suddenly, I didn't exactly view the incident with joy.  I was angry and upset, and I was convinced of, and began living, my inevitable bachelorhood.  Until ... years later God gave me a stunningly beautiful woman who turned out to be the love of my life.  She was there all the time, being prepared for me right before my eyes, but I never knew it until the time was right.  Then the Lord said to me, "There she is."  Looking back now I can clearly see that my life would have been a disaster if I had followed my original path.  There is joy in my life, but first there had to be pain.
  • When my father retired and sold his insurance agency, I was guaranteed a position with the new company.  Then a few weeks before the deal was done, they sent their business manager to tell me that, after devoting eleven years of my life to the job,  my services would no longer be needed.  Effective immediately.  I was not exactly joyful; I was angry and frustrated and scared. But the Lord knew that I would not be happy as an insurance agent.  I sat at my part time jobs for a long time until I discovered my true calling.  Then I withdrew my life savings, continued my education, and never looked back. I have found great joy as a music teacher, but first I had to endure the pain of losing my job.
  • When we bought our home, I had ZERO experience with home improvement projects.  Sure, I could use a screw driver and a hammer, but the real stuff was best left to the professionals.  Then a flood destroyed most of our house.  Needless to say, I was less than joyful.  But God intended it for good. After we were able to think clearly, He sent people to help us; they didn't fix our house, but they taught us how to fix our house.  It has been five years since the '06 flood, and I can say that I am no longer intimidated by home improvement.  I have tools and am able to use them correctly.  I would not have learned these things if we had not been through a natural disaster.  The joy was in the outcome.  
  • In September my job will undergo a dramatic change.  I will have to learn new skills in order to teach subjects for which I feel hideously unprepared.  When I was told of the change, I was angry and afraid.  In light of the recent messages and the study of James 1, I am confident that, if I listen to god and allow Him to refine me, the outcome will be joyful!    
Below is a link to a song that explains the emotion behind this scripture better than I can.

Be joyful!!


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