Letter of James // Day 3

James 1: 12-18; Hebrews 12:12-18

How to do Lectio Devina:

Sisters, this is really your time with the Lord. This will be a challenge but so fruitful. There will also be a short reflection. Give this a chance and see where the Lord takes you.

There are a couple of different ways to do this but there is one way that I will point out. This is a simple way to pray. A great resource here is your prayer journal.

1: Read the whole Scripture: James 1:12-18

2: Reflect on it for a short time (3 min or more) and see if any particular verse stands out to you.

3: Read the verse that stood out to you again.

4: Reflect on it and see if a particular word stands out to you (3 min or more)

5: Reflect on the word and see what the Lord is trying to point out to you.

You can go back and read any verses that you stood out to you and just spend a short time in prayer (silence) and listening to what God wants to point out to you. God will show up. He always does.

Short Reflection

Two different things stick out to me here: one is ‘trial’ and the other is ‘Every good endowment and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation…”

Recently, I have been feeling like there was a wall up. This thick wall that was preventing me from really feeling or, in a sense, living to the full. This wall was a block between me and Jesus. I had built it. Not realizing it, but I did, and recently I felt the full effects of it. In my prayer, I realized that I didn’t want Jesus to go too deep. I only wanted surface-ey and nice things. I felt like I couldn’t take anything else, or at least, I didn’t want to.

For some reason, I felt like God was going to take away any good that I had. Why did I feel this way? Because about two years ago, I was supposed to study abroad and everything was so great in my life at that time. I was on Cloud 9! I was president of a club on campus and this club was thriving! I was meeting so many new people, making new friends, co-leading a mission group to go to Ireland and keeping up with my studies. Life was absolutely fantastic!

Then, last minute, I didn’t go. I didn’t study abroad and I didn’t go on the mission trip. At the last minute, I couldn’t financially afford it. Why would God not want me to go? After-all, a part of it is mission work to bring people to HIM! I was hoping for a miracle but it just didn’t happen.

I was devastated. It wasn’t a part of my plan. I didn’t expect it. I went from being on Cloud 9 to feeling 6 feet under. I felt dead inside. I didn’t understand. Nothing felt right and I didn’t feel like I belonged anywhere. This was a big deal to me because I invested so much of myself into this, that when it didn’t happen, I felt like the Lord dropped me at that moment. I was so angry with him. I felt left behind. I felt like God didn’t care. I didn’t want to hear anything about “God’s will” at that moment.

After a couple of months, I was honest with God and I could start to pray again and eventually I felt like I was over this anger and hurt.

I didn’t realize that I started building this wall around my heart. I realize now that I was building this wall to not let myself feel too happy or too sad so if that if something didn’t happen, I wouldn’t feel as hurt or hurt at all.

Fast forward to now two years later. A short while ago, when I started to pray again, I felt like I couldn’t hear God.  And when I was trying to get closer to God, it was so hard. I used to pray all of the time and then it was hard to sit still and I had a breakdown because I didn’t know what to do with God anymore. I couldn’t let myself listen to him and I didn’t know why. I was so frustrated.  

So, I went on a retreat. I knew there would be a lot of prayer and praise & worship and silence for prayer. So somehow, I knew I would have to talk to God at some point. I needed to. I wanted to. During this retreat, I was finally able to hear God again and he brought up that event two years ago and all that went along with it. We went back to those wounds.

He wanted to heal me of the walls I built up and wanted me to fully trust in him again. He was so gentle and I was expecting him to be angry and I think I wanted him to yell and be angry with me for being so dumb. Crazy right? But I did; and God was so gentle. I couldn’t understand why he was being so loving. I didn’t deserve it at all. He was so good! So persistent in his gentleness that I broke down and couldn’t fathom his endless mercy for me. I talk about his mercy but when I needed it, I felt like I didn’t deserve it (and I don’t) but that’s the beauty of God’s endless and unfathomable love. He is love so all he gives is love.

Sisters, don’t be afraid to give God your pain. Your hurts. Whatever it is. I know its difficult to look our hurts in the face but when we genuinely offer these things to God. He not only takes them away from us, he replaces that hole with himself... with his gentle love.

Remember, no matter what, you are loved.

“Therefore lift your drooping hands and strengthen your weak knees, and make straight paths for your feet so that what is lame may not be put out of joint but rather be healed.” Hebrews 12:12