“Count it all joy, my brethren, when you meet various trials, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” (James 1:2-4)
The words of James today are quite piercing but at the same time loaded with truth. James is writing to a people who are definitely not at peace; a people who are being persecuted; a people who are beginning to doubt if God still cares for them.
As far as serving God in this world is concerned, we are always going to face trials; there would be moments we would become so discouraged with regards to doing good that we would begin to tell ourselves it is better to be bad instead.
It is not so easy to hold on to one’s faith when prayers are not answered; when things are not working out, when we become the laughing stock of others. St. John of the Cross would refer to such moments as the “Dark Nights.” Are you going through one right now? St. James says: “Count it all joy”.
When we face trials, let us simply look at the flowers in the field and tell ourselves that just as the flower fades so will our difficulties and trials fade away. All those who make life difficult for us simply because we have chosen to serve God will fade away with time. For now, they seem to have everything (power, influence, money, etc.) on their side but they would not be there forever.
Even at the time of Jesus, it wasn’t so easy. The Pharisees argued with Jesus and to test him they asked for a sign from heaven. For the Pharisees to be asking for a sign even after all these miracles they saw Jesus work, it means they never believed in Jesus.
Again, in our moments of trial, we could act like these Pharisees demanding an immediate response from God; asking God to prove himself, asking for a sign; a miracle forgetting what God has already done for us in the past. Think about it: Does God have to prove himself again and again?
Let us pray: Lord Jesus, when I have to pass through ‘fire’, carry me gently in your arms and save me from despair. Amen.
Bible Study: James 1:1-11, Ps. 119:67-68,71-72,75-76, Mark 8:11-13).
NB. Its St. Valentine’s Day today, let us celebrate love; not sex, not lust!