Summary: 2nd in the series James Troubles and Storms come into the life of a Christian. Not "if" but "when" James provides direction and hope
In Jesus Holy Name August 27, 2006
Text: James 1:1-4,12 Pentecost XII, Redeemer
“When Storms and Troubles Won’t Go Away”
The Book of James 2nd in the Series
Max Lucado in his book “Eye of the Storm” tells this story:
Chippie the parakeet never saw it coming. Once second he was peacefully perched in his cage. The next he was sucked in, washed up, and blown over.
The problems began when Chippie’s owner decided to clean Chippie’s cage with a vacuum cleaner. She removed the attachments from the end of the hose and stuck it in the cage. The phone rang, and she turned to pick it up. She’d barely said “hello” when “ssssssssssssssopp!” chippie got sucked in.
The bird owner gasped, put down the phone, turned off the vacuum and opened the bag. There was Chippie….still alive, but stunned.
Since the bird was covered with dust and soot, she grabbed him and raced to the bathroom, turned on the faucet, and held Chippie under the running water. Then, realizing that Chippie was soaked and shivering, she did what any compassionate bird owner would do…. She reached for the hair dryer and blasted the pet with hot air.
Poor Chippie never knew what hit him.
A few days after the trauma, the reporter who’d initially written about the event contacted Chippie’s owner to see how the bird was recovering. “Well”, she replied, “Chippie doesn’t’ sing much any more….he just sits and stares.”
It’s hard to see why. Sucked in, washed up, and blown over… That’s enough to steal the song from the stoutest heart.
Have you ever felt sucked in, washed up, and blown over? Heartaches, troubles, sickness, disease, suffering, trials and temptations come into our lives. Christians are not immune from these events. When these painful events come we may not be able to control their duration or severity, but James wants to remind us that these “trials” will test our faith and we will grow in our faith.
The first truth from James reminds us (read v 2) troubles, storms, trials are inevitable. Unhappy and painful things do happen to people who trust God. It is interesting that James did not say…. “ count it all joy”, consider yourself fortunate IF… That would be like saying…. Be prepared if you must pay your taxes. Be prepared if yuou must some day die. There will be trials, storms which come to us in the course of living life. Being a Christian is not a “pass card” out of this world’s troubles.
The second truth that James wants to teach us is that God can and will use trials to: 1) develop perseverance…. Which moves us closer to spiritual maturity (Eph. 4:13) 2) It gives us an opportunity to ask for wisdom 3) When we have stood the test we will receive a crown of eternal life which God has promised to those who love him.
Frequently we take trials or tests as a personal offense. “What is God doing to me?” Trials and storms come and when we are in the corner, having exhausted all our own efforts we will turn our face toward God.
Storms and trials may sweep down upon us from different directions and for different reasons. 1) Sometimes Satan causes the storm. 2) Sometimes people cause a storm or trial to come our way. They might bring us an emotional trial, by creating stress at work, or the company might down size, or performance levels might change. Health issues can cause trials to come. 3) Sometimes you and I cause the storm by decisions we make that bring consequences. 4) Some times God sends the storm.
Warren Wiersbe made this observation that the trials of life are not all alike. They are like multicolored yarn that the weaver uses to make a beautiful rug. God arranges and mixes the colours and experiences of life. The final product will work to reveal the same things.
1) the nature of my faith
2) the strength of my commitment
3) the level of my maturity
4) the health of my attitude
5) the measure of my teachability.
If you’ve ever experienced a hurricane, or a tornado, or an extremely strong storm they can be very revealing….if only to show us where our roof leaks.
Storms underline our need for a hiding place. I can tell you that the best place to be in a tornado in Missouri is the southwest corner of the basement. As a Christian the best hiding place is the unmovable, unchangeable, uncompromising, eternal wall of God’s word. And so Luther could write “A mighty fortress is our God”, our shield and protector..”
James tells us to “count it all joy”… not easy… yet his point deals with our “attitude” when trials come… and they will. The only way God can develop patience and character in our lives is through trials, not prayer, not sermons.