Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit”—yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.”
James 4:13-14 ESV
“My life is over!!!” a teenager will say, after they are embarrassed by Mom or Dad in front of their crush of the week. “This is the worst day ever!!!” Someone will exclaim in their office as their computer crashes. Even our news stories tend towards hyperbole, “Worst crash ever!!! Greatest US Open match ever, Markets Doomed!!!”
In the midst of all the anxiety it’s hard not to get caught up and to join the panicked overreacting chorus. The book of James speaks into the manic anxiety with this reminder that our lives are but a drop in the hat in the grand scheme of things. This is not meant to take meaning away from each waking moment that we are blessed with; instead it’s to encourage us to keep it all in perspective. It’s easy to say to the teenager, your life is not over, or to the frustrated office staff this is not the worst day ever. I believe that James instead is encouraging us to keep it in perspective of the broader and greater work God is doing.
Churches all over the world tell stories of considering closing their doors, and watching God begin a new work within them and revitalizing that ministry. Couples who on the brink of divorce who finds new passion in their marriage through the hard work they do to reconcile with one another. James understands the challenges of day to day life, and encourages us to keep in perspective that although you may experience pain today, God may be bringing you joy the next day, you may see loss right now, but this may be opening doors to opportunities you could not have seen before.
- What are some challenges you are facing right now? What is most challenging about what lies before you?
- What can make it challenging to keep things in perspective for you? What tends to make your anxiety skyrocket?