On Wednesday mornings I meet with three or four women to study and discuss verses in the book of James. Like so often in the past, we are studying the right book. The message of James is relevant to our current time.
Count it all joy when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing. James 1:2-4
The effects of the pandemic on health, schools, churches and employment have changed our lives. I am relieved that I do not need to work. I have refused the vaccine after researching the risks and benefits. I won’t be allowed to go in museums or restaurants in Chicago.
My mother passed away in a nursing home last winter when my siblings and I were unable to be with her. We said our final words over facetime. My heartaches for the health care workers that are coping with so much.
Count it all joy? I do want my faith to be steadfast—and sharing thoughts with other believers truly helps. We talked about being thankful each day; noticing the small things we see, remembering the prayers that have been answered. As we give thanks, we reset our thoughts. I am spending more time in prayer.
James continues to instruct us.
If anyone lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. James 1:5-6
As I read these words I thought of an event in Peter’s life. Remember when he saw Jesus walking on the water?
So Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water and came to Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid, and beginning to sink he cried out, “Lord save me.” Jesus immediately reached out his hand and took hold of him, saying, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” Matthew 14:28-31
We are all like Peter. We can become afraid, and fear will overcome our faith. We must not become engulfed with fear of the virus or worries about the future. Instead, God wants us to seek him, to ask for wisdom. It is a great blessing to spend time in prayer with my women friends after studying the Bible.
Do you have friends that you can pray with?