James 1:1-18 (NRSV)
1 James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, To the twelve tribes in the Dispersion: Greetings.
2 My brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of any kind, consider it nothing but 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.
One of the Bible Studies I have been reading is, “Instead of Fear—What God gives you when you let go of fear” by Wycliffe. During this time in history with the COVID-19 pandemic, like you, I fight the anxieties and fears that can creep up on me at different times as I worry about the health and well-being of my wife, my children, my parents, and my extended family and friends. And like so many, I worry about the financial impact of the pandemic and what harm it may cause as well as the civil unrest of wearing a mask in public seems to be causing.
I remember as a young child being out hiking with my family. It had been raining for quite a while, but we were determined not to let that stop us. As we were hiking, I came across a muddy area of the trail. Rather than walk around it, I thought it would be OK to just move through it. Then my feet started to sink into the mud as I quickly realized that my decision was not the smartest of ideas. As I tried to move, my feet just sunk deeper and I started to panic as I could not take a step. As I recall, my family members thought it was quite amusing and had a good laugh. But for me, I was frightened as I tried to take a step and my foot came out of my shoe which was being held tightly by the mud.
As panic began to set in and fear race through my mind, my Dad reached out over the muddy area and pulled me out of my sinking dilemma and even rescued my muddy shoe. During a moment of panic, I felt security through the grip of my Father’s hand.
As it has been said, “Fear can be a sticky thing. Give it a place to grab hold and it can suck you down into a muddy pit.” During this time in our history, fear can seem to be overwhelming. We read the newspaper, watch the news on television, read social media, and basically start to feel as though we have no other choice but to feel fear.
A few questions that my devotion shared with me that I want to challenge you with as well are…
--Have you ever felt stuck due to fear? How did you change how you felt?
--Are you currently feeling stuck because of fear?
--Is there something that is stopping you from taking God’s helping hand? If so, go ahead and ask God to give you the strength to hold His hand and trust Him and let go of the fear.
My friends, there are times when fear can be overwhelming, but God IS ABLE and ALWAYS WILLING to help you. And no matter how unsteady the ground beneath you may feel, have faith in the knowledge that God’s firm grip of a loving hand is ready to help you.
My brothers and sisters in Christ, as we anxiously await to come back together for face-to-face worship, remember what the scripture in James says, “whenever you face trials of any kind, consider it nothing but joy, because you know that the testing of your faith produces endurance.” You are not alone. Your loving Father God is waiting for you to take hold of His hand. Let go of fear and grab His hand! Amen.
Pastor Kevin & Carla Evers
A Follower of Jesus who is a Husband, Father, Pastor, creative communicator, drummer, Truth Seeker, and all around coffee drinking beach lover!
"We are not human beings having a spiritual experience; we are spiritual beings having a human experience."
- Pierre Teilhard de Chardin