You have a choice

So I read James today, and not even the whole thing. I got about 4 verses in before I had to stop and start journalling. When you’re looking for truth, it seems to jump out at you. Want something good? Here it is:

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

I put my Bible down and let it sink in for a minute. So Jesus, let me get this right. You want me to view the hard days, the ones where I want to run away from confrontation, when I want to curl up in a ball and either cry or sleep, the days that I am misunderstood, attacked, trash talked, demoted and unappreciated- you want me to take those days and consider that as joyful? If I stop at that verse, I’ve missed it. I’ve lost the point, and I’ve lost the reward of doing such an insane thing, because what is the reward?

Perseverance: steady persistence in a course of action, a purpose, a state, etc., especially in spite of  difficulties,obstacles, or discouragement.

All this rolls together at the end of the day. You learn how to persevere. You learn that even in the middle of your struggle there is grace offered, there are words ready to be spoken to encourage you, there is always One waiting and helping you along. At the end of the day you will be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

How bold is that? You won’t lack anything. Is James crazy? How can I, a weak human, not lack anything? The thought seems impossible, even a bit unbiblical, until I realize that everything is given to me in the form of Jesus. Everything we need- comfort, encouragement, strength, faith, salvation, provision, safety- it’s all in Jesus.

When I was graduating from 8th grade they asked for our favourite Bible verse. I, naively, chose this verse to be read out as I gracefully walked to receive my diploma. “Consider it joy when you face trials”. I’m not going to say I’ve had the worst life ever, by all means I have been undeservingly blessed, but trials have still come my way. I won’t look back and say I handled them all in a Christ like manor, but I will say that I have developed character from them. But it all came from a choice, which is the point I’ve been trying to get to today. I had a choice when I was struggling to get through my bad days, to either keep carrying it alone, or to open up and let others help me, to let God help me. I had a choice, we all have a choice.

I had a choice to see struggle, or a chance to grow in Jesus.

I had a choice to see pain, or the platform for joy.

I had a choice to carry it alone, or to carry it with my family, my friends, and my sweet Saviour.

God continues to amaze me (and I pray this never stops) in the way He shows Himself to me. Each day, when I’m actually turning my eyes to Him, He has something new to say, a new treasure for me to unfold, but will I choose it? Will I choose to say “Yes, God, today I give you my day, even though it’s already Yours to take.” Will I let go of my life, in order to gain eternity?

It all starts with a choice. And how gracious of Him, how patient and kind and merciful of Him, to offer this gift in the form of a man that every one of us can relate to on some level.

Can I challenge you, sweet reader, to lay your choices down to Him today? The choices of who to love, where to work, which words to speak, and which songs to sing? Each choice that we make daily can glorify and honour Him, or it can do the exact opposite. I don’t mean to scare you or make you feel guilty with that, just sharing what He has made me aware of recently.

Oh, and ps.- If you lay it down to Him, He’ll always help you make the right choice.

beautifulthings

With Strength that is not my own, Sam

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Does it even matter?

I’m one of many.

One of many people who chose to look. To look at the difficult, ugly, unfair things in life. To search for the girls “gone missing”, to ask the uncomfortable questions, to speak up when something doesn’t feel right. I’m just one of many.

Sometimes I catch myself believing this lie, the one that says “What you’re doing doesn’t matter.” Slavery is too big. Sex trafficking is too scary. There are more AIDS orphans than you’d ever be able to take care of. Even if you answer one hard question, 5 new ones will replace it. It’s too big.

I’m only one. But I’m one of many.

I see it. I see that the problems I’m looking at are much too big for me to handle on my own. There’s no way I can fix it all. There’s no way I’m able to walk the streets of Thailand alone and close down every brothel. It’s not possible for me to adopt every orphan, or to educate every man and woman about AIDS prevention on my own. I cannot stop every war, answer every question or soothe every pain. I can’t. But….

I am one of many.

What if you stood up, too? What if you looked a little further than usual. What if you did some research, or even better, got to know someone who wakes up every day and faces pain. What if these numbers, these stupid statistics, what if they became people to you? Instead of numbers, you saw friends. Brothers and sisters suffering under the hands of injustice, inequality and pain. What if? Then you, too, could become one of many.

One person, of many, who will sit idle no longer. One person who chooses love in the place of hate. You could be one who sees all the pain of this world and crumbles under its weight, forcing you to turn to Jesus to carry it all. Would you consider it? Could you consider being one of many? To stand in line with others who, although inadequate and unprepared, are not willing to go another day without saying something.

Will you choose to be one of many?

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With Strength that is not my own, Sam