this post continues to share my journey through memorizing the book of James.
“Another doctor was called in to confirm the terrible news.
I laid there, covered my face with my hands and cried.
Their voices kept saying things like, “I’m concerned” and “This doesn’t look good”
but all I kept hearing was James 1:1-3 involuntarily repeating in my heart
as the Spirit whispered over and over and over:
“James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, to the twelve tribes in the dispersion, Greetings. Count it all joy my brothers when you meet trials of various kinds for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.””
There is a difficult question that I don’t like to admit that I ask.
But if I am going live according to the word, I must answer it:
How do I count pain as joy?
In this season of my life the question has become more unavoidable than ever:
“How do I consider the trial of losing two babies as joy?”
When I first became a Christian I was not comfortable asking God questions.
But after fifteen years and many curious thoughts,
I’ve become comfortable sharing them with Him.
Are you comfortable bringing your questions to God?
Do you readily ask the simple as well as the complex?
Do you bring the questions that are secret?
The ones that are too tangly to fit into a slick answer?
The questions that make your brain ache and your heart sink?
Jesus has a track record of responding to questions just like ours with truth.
The crowds asked, the disciples asked,
John, Judas and Martha asked,
Mary asked, Nicodemus asked and a risk young ruler asked.
The Samaritian woman and the demon-possessed man asked.
…and Jesus answered them…
Some heard answers they liked and some heard answers they didn’t but they were answered with the truth.
The Pharisees, Pilate and the High Priests had questions too.
But Jesus responded to them with silence.
I’m learning there is a big difference between asking God questions and questioning God.
After spending the past year studying the book of Matthew in Bible Study Fellowship,
I am acutely aware of how easy it is to cross the line
from asking with an open heart to questioning with an agenda.
In the weeks after the second miscarriage there were many times
I silently asked questions and desperately wanted truthful answers.
I am confident God can be trusted with my heartfelt questions.
He met me right in the middle of them and responded with the memory verses from James:
“If you don’t know what you’re doing, pray to the Father.
He loves to help.
You’ll get his help, and won’t be condescended to when you ask for it.
Ask boldly, believingly, without a second thought.”
and the weeks after that when I was laid low by life and felt like I’d never feel good again,
He used the memory verses to remind me that changing seasons in my life are to be expected and that I would bloom again:
“Prosperity is as short-lived as a wildflower, so don’t ever count on it.
You know that as soon as the sun rises, pouring down its scorching heat, the flower withers.
Its petals wilt and, before you know it, that beautiful face is a barren stem.”
He answered me through James.
These answers gave me the weight to balance my heart against my brain.
When my feelings said pain, the scriptures said joy.
When my feelings said quit, the scriptures said persevere.
When my feelings magnified hopelessness and helplessness, the scriptures affirmed the source of my hope and help.
This is the first time I’ve set out to memorize a large portion of scripture.
It is daunting.
I’ve been motivated to persevere as God uses verses to speak to me personally.
My friend Jacque Watkins
is a woman who has hidden a lot of the word in her heart.
Recently, she wrote a helpful post full of tips about memorizing scripture.
I encourage you to read it
and challenge yourself.
When we memorize scripture
we dare to give God the opportunity to answer our deepest questions.
Do you dare?
if you would like to read more about the people who questioned Jesus and the responses He gave,