“Count it all joy, my brethren, when you meet various trials, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.” James 1:2-3.
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.
Dear friends 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 easy to talk about Faith when all goes well. It is not so easy to hold on one’s faith when prayers are not answered; when things are not working out. 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.
With regards to their persecutors, St. James says: “For the sun rises with its scorching heat and withers the grass; its flower fades and its beauty perishes. So will the rich man fade away in the midst of his pursuits.” James 1:11.
Yes, 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 appear to be rich in that 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 just wanted trouble and nothing more.
Again, in our moments of trial, we could actually act like these Pharisees demanding 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, don’t just be with me, carry me gently in your arms and save me from despair. May I never doubt your power even when things are not working for me. Amen.
*Be happy, live positive, it is well with you. Monday of the 6th week in Ordinary Time. Bible Study: James 1:1-11 and Mark 8:11-13.*