Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Signs of Growth, Gifts of Grace

Before Bible study this morning, I vacuumed floors. Not because I'm a Neat Nelly but because of necessity. In one room a full-length mirror lay broken on the floor. In another a potted plant had fallen off the shelf.

It occurred to me that, in the days of young children, this would have been a disaster. A catastrophe. Broken glass and small feet. Black dirt and carpet.

But not today. Today I was alone. Thankful I didn't have clambering, half-dressed, hungry children. Thankful I had a full-size trash bag to scoop up the mirror, frame and (almost) all. Thankful no one had watered the plant before it fell.

And in that moment I realized that past trials have given me grace and patience in today's trials. The first time you find a cat in the clothes dryer, it creates a bit of panic. The next time you know what to do and it's not as concerning.

Isn't God good to teach us, stay with us, remind us of His constant presence and work in and through our lives?

Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.

But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But he must ask in faith without any doubting, for the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind. For that man ought not to expect that he will receive anything from the Lord, being a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.

But the brother of humble circumstances is to glory in his high position; and the rich man is to glory in his humiliation, because like flowering grass he will pass away. For the sun rises with a scorching wind and withers the grass; and its flower falls off and the beauty of its appearance is destroyed; so too the rich man in the midst of his pursuits will fade away.

Blessed is a man who perseveres under trial; for once he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him. Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil, and He Himself does not tempt anyone. But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust. Then when lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and when sin is accomplished, it brings forth death. Do not be deceived, my beloved brethren. Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow. In the exercise of His will He brought us forth by the word of truth, so that we would be a kind of first fruits among His creatures. (James 1:2-18)

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