In my mind this first chapter of James has always been all divided up into nuggets. Verses 2-3 explain how we are to address the trying of our faith through the various trials and difficulties we face in our lives. And then verses 5-6 tell us to go ask for wisdom. Two totally separate actions, right?
This weekend as I was watching Francis Chan on YouTube (that was our Sunday morning "church" service!), something he said allowed me to connect these two sections. We are supposed to be able to find joy in our trials since they are working in us spiritual maturity and eternal rewards. Verse 5 is not a tag-along scripture - it's what we do when we can't see it.
For me life as a caregiver has been crippling socially, emotionally and even spiritually on some levels. If I am not careful (and most of the time I'm not.) I can be blinded by my situation and fail to see what God is after. I fail to see what He is working in me because of what is going on around me. I have felt like those in Psalm 137 who hung their harps in the willow and refused to sing because of their captivity. They said, how can we sing the Lord's song in a foreign land? I have felt that way.
I'm the question queen and I'm full of them. For nearly 7 years now I've asked questions like: How can I go on? Why can't life make sense? Why did God give me dreams in the first place? Will I ever feel whole again? What kind of life is this? And so on. Caregiving for many of us is not like a journey you take until you reach your destination - it just goes on and on with no end in sight. How do we count that all joy?
I have to go back to Job to find some answers. When he lost it all he said blessed be the name of the Lord. I did not pass that test! We must lift our eyes up beyond our day-to-day grind. Even though our schedules are hectic and repetitive we are going places spiritually. Even though we cannot see it all the time, He is working in us His good pleasure. He has not given up on us and He has not abandoned His project. What He is working in us is eternal. What He is doing in us will last past time - it will endure past what we see before us. He is still alive in us and shaping us into His image.
There is not one scripture that says He cannot work within our situations. He uses our lives to mold us. I had a friend who said God doesn't waste a thing. And I have to agree. When we yield our crazy abnormal lives to His hand - He can make it a thing of beauty. But we will have to look past what we see to what He sees to "get it."
Today I will not let my hectic day block the view of what He is doing in me. As I go through the day I will meditate on the truth that He has not abandoned ship - but He is still at the helm and will take me safely through. And I will choose to rejoice that He is working in me things that will last through eternity. I can't see them here - because they have value in the spiritual realm. I will count it all joy that He is still working in me and on me to bring about His desires. Will you join me?