By Emily Hylden
A Reading from James 1:2-8, 16-18
2 My brothers and sisters, whenever you face various trials, consider it all joy, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith produces endurance. 4 And let endurance have its full effect, so that you may be mature and complete, lacking in nothing.
5 If any of you is lacking in wisdom, ask God, who gives to all generously and ungrudgingly, and it will be given you. 6 But ask in faith, never doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind. 7,8 For the doubter, being double-minded and unstable in every way, must not expect to receive anything from the Lord.
16 Do not be deceived, my beloved brothers and sisters. 17 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. 18 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.
And let endurance have its full effect, so that you may be mature and complete, lacking in nothing.
James is sometimes shunned as an epistle about works, but I love the way that the NRSV puts it today: “let endurance have its full effect.” As if we, the readers — disciples, the ones undergoing testing or trial, are encouraged to allow endurance to do its work on and in us. We are not the active “doers” of the work, but our work is to surrender to the action of endurance — perhaps, the work of the Holy Spirit — within us. Our work is constancy while the endurance is happening — which is much easier said than done, this runner knows! But I wonder what kind of transformation this perspective shift might gift in us. What if we chose to think of trials as something to surrender to and allow to move through us?
What trial might you be facing right now that could benefit from some energy put into surrender — into endurance — rather than resistance?
The Rev. Emily R. Hylden resides with her priest husband and three sons in Lafayette, Louisiana. Find her podcasting at Emily Rose Meditations.
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Daily Devotional Cycle of Prayer
Today we pray for:
Church of the Province of South East Asia
Christ Church Cathedral, Nashville, Tenn.