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Daily Devotions from Fourth Presbyterian Church

Saturday, May 14, 2022  

Today’s Scripture Reading  |  James 1:2–8, 16–18

My brothers and sisters, whenever you face various trials, consider it all joy, because you know that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance complete its work, so that you may be complete and whole, lacking in nothing.

If any of you is lacking in wisdom, ask God, who gives to all generously and ungrudgingly, and it will be given you. But ask in faith, never doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind. For the doubter, being double-minded and unstable in every way, must not expect to receive anything from the Lord.

Do not be deceived, my beloved brothers and sisters. Every generous act of giving, with every perfect gift, is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change. In fulfillment of his own purpose he gave birth to us by the word of truth, so that we would become a kind of first fruits of his creatures. (NRSV)

Reflection
After reading through this passage a few times, I was left with the nagging question of what it means to “consider it nothing but joy” when I face trials, without being delusional. I could see “consider it an opportunity to grow and strengthen your faith” when I face trails. But I couldn’t find a way to wrap my head around “consider it nothing but joy.” So I went in search of the answer. I read what clergy and scholars had to say, and I didn’t find an answer I was satisfied with. So I gave up on trying to find an answer and went back to sitting with the question.

As C.S. Lewis discusses in Mere Christianity, maybe I’m not ready to understand that part yet. Maybe there are other parts of theology and Christianity I need to understand first. And that’s OK. In fact, it’s a good reminder that figuring out how to follow Christ is a lifelong journey. I’ve found answers to some of the questions I had when I was younger, and questions I don’t even know I have will undoubtedly show up in the future. As long as I have questions and seek answers, it means I am continuing to grow in my faith. It means my relationship with God and my spiritual life are still important parts of my life, and in those trials, I can find joy.

Prayer
When I have questions, Lord, help me persevere. And when I face trials, help me find joy. Amen.

Written by Nicole Spirgen, Member of Fourth Presbyterian Church

Reflection and prayer © Fourth Presbyterian Church

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