“Count is all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.” James 1:2-3
Though a fairly famous portion of scripture, this continues to be a nugget in my life. I waste a lot of potential growing time complaining and worrying. I find myself actually questioning God; as if I were a peer to the almighty. The trouble with our complaints is that they happen because we have forgotten just who God is in relationship to us. We tend to forget that he is Creator of all. We f0rget that he supplies ALL of our needs and even some of our wants. We forget that we are mere humans; that we are indeed depraved and by our very nature, evil. We rely heavily on God until our first few paychecks come in from the new job, then we figure that we have it from there. We freely lean on him during marital struggles only to engage in those same evil desires that he has freed us from once the marriage has seemingly been healed. We are eager to join the crowd of “In God We Trust” and “God Bless America” displays after a national tragedy only to blame God for the tragedy and turn from him once we feel a bit better and our tiny military “has control” of the situation.
What a joke.
Where is our resolve? Where is our maturity? We act like such children so often, myself included. There is no good excuse for it. God has promised us that we will endure hardship. He has given us the insider report. It’s no secret that struggle and death will be tasted here on this feeble earth. So shouldn’t we just expect it and be as prepared as possible, rather than waiting until we get slammed and complaining to, or even blaming God?
I am very exited to be beginning an in depth study of the book of James with my wife, Donna. We read the introduction to the book yesterday afternoon and learned that the focus and intent of James is to teach Christian Spiritual Maturity to the reader. This is an area that seems elementary and actually, it is. James does this on purpose because we tend to accept the sacrifice of Jesus and then remain babies til death. Growth is hard. Sometimes it sucks. ALL the time, it is challenging. However, we still have a responsibility, as believers, to grow up; to be adults. I would encourage you to spend some time this week focusing on how and in which areas you need to grow up.
Fight for your Jesus.
Actually care about how people view you.
Choose to make positive changes (pause for effect) for the sake of the Gospel of Jesus, not for you.
25†“Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? 26†Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? 27And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?  28And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, 29yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 30†But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? 31Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. 33But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.
So, in the past year I’ve finished an enlistment in the United States Marine Corps; been through four jobs in two different states, while trying to find something that will support my family and dig us out of debt. I’ve been caught in the middle of the sin of lust, to a point that, were it not for my wife’s unending amount of grace and forgiveness, my marriage would be over. We have been as much as 4 months behind on some bills. And most recently, on August, 14th my wife, Donna, gave birth to Wyatt Gus Grunden. During his two month immunization appointment Donna mentioned that his eyes weren’t dilating the same and we were sent to the Dakota Eye Institute to get his eyes checked on the same day. There, they took a closer look at his eyes to reveal MANY problems with the left one, not the least of which was a detached retina, a smaller eye, and a tumor. We were sent eight hours away the next day to Minneapolis, MN to the Amplatz Children’s Hospital where a retina specialist did a thorough exam only to tell us that it looked like retinoblastoma butt THE SPECIALIST wasn’t sure enough to move forward with any treatment. She recommended us to the Wills Eye Institute in Philadelphia, PA. There is a genius eye oncologist there with magical powers. We went the next week, stayed a week, and came home with one less eye on the plane. Oh and last week, I lost my job.
God is still good, and I will trust Him with my whole heart and life…even if it sometimes seems impossible.