Not too long ago Graeme made some apologetic remark about “ruining my life” by his career and training choices. I told him that I try to think of it [my circumstances] as character training. If I can do this and not just survive, but thrive – grow in patience, maturity, wisdom, understanding, love, grace – I will be able to do pretty much anything. I try to remind myself of this “training” on an ongoing basis – but I’ll be honest, lately I haven’t been doing so well at Character School. Temptations assail me such as losing my temper, losing control of my tongue, hurting with my words, impatience, strangling children. Now I don’t act on all of those, and so far, not on the last one mentioned. But I’m not impressed with myself a lot of the time. I’m flunking out of character training.
Last night I thought, “I haven’t read James for a while”. By the second verse I was hit with exactly what I needed.
“My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations.” That’s as far as I got for a while. I sat and thought about that, and knew without doubt that it was going to help me along my way. Then I continued, “Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing. If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.”
Today, I found great strength in this simple prayer: Count it all joy! Lord, help me to remember: count it all joy! It worked as an effective reminder each time I was at a point of struggle, a point of choice, a point of letting patience “have her perfect work”. It reminded me of where to look for wisdom – wisdom that transcends the wisdom of this world. Time and time again my own wisdom fails, but the wisdom I find in God’s word lifts me up, puts my feet on solid ground, and propels me onward – enriched.
“O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out!” Romans 11:33