I remember the first time I read this Scripture. Though I was a product of Catholic education, (elementary, high school and college) we were not encouraged to read the Bible. In the early 70’s, I attended a course to be certified as a teacher of religious instruction, so I could volunteer to be a 6th grade CCD (Confraternity of Christian Doctrine – today called Faith Formation) teacher. For homework, Sister instructed us to prayerfully read just one portion of God’s love letter to us, the Letter of James, a short book of five chapters. Though in my thirties, I had never read an entire book of the bible.
These beginning verses actually first caused me to laugh – ‘Be happy in your trials’ – you have got to be kidding! Yet it became a tremendous grace to read the letter of James and adapt it to my personal circumstances in the years following, plus the Lord blessed me with eyes of faith to view what faith and perseverance could really mean. My attraction to God’s word was immediate and so began the journey of joy and love, of reading God’s word and receiving guidance and hope, that continues to sustain me. I am consoled that the Bible is full of flawed and wounded individuals, I can identify with.
The more I studied, the more I wanted to know. I subscribed to several Scripture studies, whose daily readings supplied me with helpful knowledge and answers that I applied to my life experiences. Reflecting on Scripture, I was led to deeper prayer and surrender. Along the way, I discovered special verses that strengthened, encouraged and empowered me to see that difficult situations presented an opportunity to be drawn into God’s presence, resulting in an increase of faith and hope.
As caretakers, we need to depend on the Lord, listen to His word and look for all the ways God is revealed – in the unfailing love of family members who walk with us when the road is uncertain and difficult; In the support of good friends who give us room to vent and a reality check when needed; God is in the unlimited generosity and kindness of caregivers who stay near day and night; God is in every sign of goodness and so much more. God’s works are made visible during misfortune, when God’s hands appear through rescue workers, kind doctors and nurses and so much more. Our perseverance can be a sign of God’s presence and the good we do, can be a wonder in someone’s life.
If you are familiar with this blog, you know another mainstay Scripture of mine is Romans 12:12 “Rejoice in hope, endure in affliction, persevere in prayer.” Scripture will provide inspiration and reveal the many promises of God’s love, if we will but open the Word.
Would you like to share a favorite or meaningful Scripture of yours?