Friday, December 30, 2011

Faithful Friday Faves: James

Posted by Lisa Laree to Beer Lahai Roi 

Anyone who's hung around Beer Lahai Roi for  while knows James is one of my favorite books.  I taught a Bible study for the local Christian Women's Job Corps  site (back when the local folks only had one site) for a couple of years, repeating James for each class (one class referred to me as 'The James Lady'), and it was one of the first Bible studies I did on BLR (see sidebar).  So picking my favorite verse from James is...difficult.

So I am not going to claim today's verse is my absolute favorite from the book.  It is, however, the one that has been repeating itself over and over in my head since I first contemplated picking a passage from James:

Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.  Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.  - James 1:2-4, NIV

I picked up The Message last night and read that same passage; it reads like this:

Consider it a sheer gift, my friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides.  You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors.  So don't try to get out of anything prematurely.  Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way.

What hit me from The Message translation is the phrase  'don't try to get out of anything prematurely.'

Put that with the NIV phrase 'Perseverance must finish its work', and I begin to think that the concept I need to try and wrap my brain around is that bad things aren't always bad.  There is a perspective that I cannot see from the midst of a crisis or trial that I have to trust is there; a perspective that shows there is a purpose in the trial.

What I have to do is not try to create a short cut to get out of the trial before that purpose is accomplished, but walk through it.

And be joyful, 'cause there's good coming out of it.  Whether I see it or not.

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