John Calvin once said, “There is no time in life when God does not invite us to Himself.” He is our God for all seasons. However, placing God in one compartment of our life is so natural for us. We come to Him at a particular time and place. God wants more of our time than that. So to correct this error God uses the pruning knife to help us with those bad practices that limit our prayer life. That is what James is talking about in our text.
Was today a bad day? If your answer is, “You can say that again! I pack too much into a day. It gets on my nerves and then I become irritable with everyone including our dog. My little girl tried to get my attention, and I barked at her, ÔWill you please shut up?’ Then I hate myself. I question whether I am a Christian. How can I be this way?”
What have you done about your problem of irritability caused by a full schedule?
If your answer is, “Nothing. I just hope tomorrow will be better,” will it be better? Probably not if you have done nothing to adjust your busy schedule.
Our Father in Heaven who loves us is telling us to come to Him with that busy schedule. Set better priorities. What can be left out of the daily routine that is not very important? Where might you say no to the requests for your time? Are you afraid of offending someone and worrying this person will think less of you? While you do not want to be offensive, maybe these words (first spoken to Paul and now to you) will help.
Paul learned it was a small thing to be judged by people. Not every invitation that people extend to you has to be accepted just to keep their favor. Spending all these hours trying to please people can tire you out. Then you come home in the evening with a bad attitude, and your family has to live with a mean-spirited mother, dad, wife, or husband.
Remember that God is always there to listen and to counsel you through His Word.
Let us go on and ask, “Is anyone happy? If so, let that person sing songs of praise.”
Did you have a good weekend? “Oh, yes,” you reply. “We had a great time with family and friends! The weather was beautiful. We had some wonderful food.”
Did you thank God for these gifts? You do not have to wait until Thanksgiving Day to say thank you to the Giver of every good and perfect gift. The doxology is not to be sung only in church.
James, the writer of our text, continues presenting this God who is always present.
“Is any one of you sick? He should call the elders of the church to pray over him and anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well.”
God tells us to let Him in on our health problems. If someone is sick, consult the best medical people available to you, and then pray for God’s healing. These medical people are God’s gift to us. They use their skills, but God does the healing. Then remember that if the healing does not take place, God will give you the grace to accept this big disappointment.
Are you worried about your health? Why not place this big problem in God’s hands and let Him help you with your health problems?
Just one more question in thinking about this God who is always there to help us with our problems: have you had a conflict with another person lately? If so, James counsels us with these words: “Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other.”
What did you do about this bad blood between you and another person? Did you tell a second friend what a louse this person is? Did you talk about his unkindness and insensitive toward you? Why did you talk to another person about your struggle with this person? If you sit down with your Savior and tell Him about the strife, he will give you some good advice that will deal with the problem. Jesus will tell you, as He has told millions of people through the years, if you know your brother has something again you, go to him, talk it over. In that way you will win a brother, and the problem will go away. How sad that so many people carry their gripes and ill will toward another person for many years. God wants to help you.
God is a God for all seasons, and it is His desire to prune the mistake in our lives that has compartmentalized Him. Remember, He once said, “Pray in all seasons.” This means that wherever we are and whenever we stand in need of help, we turn to God for counsel. This will make us children whom God loves to show to the world Ð children who know what it is to partner with their Savior Ð children who know that Christ is always present.
The writer of that great hymn, “What a Friend We Have in Jesus” said it so well:
“Oh, what peace we often forfeit;
Oh, what needless pain we bear.
All because we do not carry,
Everything to God in prayer.”
Just think of it: our Father invites us to His throne of grace. He is the God for all seasons.