James 5:9 - 10
Do not grumble against one another
One month ago, the second wave of covid19 swept through our nation. We were put under a partial lockdown within 2 days for the first reported case. Even in such times of uncertainty and possibly high level of stress, James reminds us not to release our pressure unto those who are around us. He was writing in the context of being patient in the midst of suffering and he tells Christians not to grumble with one another. It is reported in other countries that during the COV-19 outbreak last year that this can lead to relational conflicts as the restrictions caused us to live closer together with some people and further apart from others. The social distancing measures could have the effect of isolating us from friends and other family members. Some may also be experiencing financial stress brought about by restrictions.
As Christians, we are called and taught to be endure pressure and to be patient with one another. Ephesians 4:2 tells us to walk in a manner with all humility, gentleness with patience bearing one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. In a highly stressful situation, rather than going against those who are close to us, we are called to be Christlike. We look to Jesus for the perfect example. Jesus was in agony in the Garden of Gethsemane. He was in extreme anguish that his sweat became like drops of blood. What did he do? He prayed to the Father and submitted to His Will. That is what we must do, to turn to God in prayer. Philippians 4 promises us that when we bring our anxiousness and petitions to God, a supernatural peace will come upon us. We turn to God instead of away from God when faced with trials. Even at this time of social distancing, we can reach out in love instead of exhibiting negativity to those around us.
A key not to grumble at one another and our circumstances is to remain to be patient. James reminds us to look at the prophets of the Lord who has endured suffering and are real life testimonies for us to follow. Those who know the book of Job knows Job endured all sorts of trials. He lost all his material possessions in a short time and the worse of all, he lost his children as well. From Job’s perspective, he did not know why he was going through all these suffering. Not everything that happens in our lives make sense at that point when we are going through it and we also must accept that some of our questions will never be answered. Just like the old testament prophets, we place our trust in God who is faithful and that we worship a God is who is good. It is okay not to know why we are going through suffering. This is where patience and an enduring faith comes in. We must trust God in this process, in this lockdown and in this pandemic. Even in such a difficult time, we express the love and grace of God to one another exhibiting the fruit of the spirit (Galatians 5:23).
Lord, help me to trust you and to remain patient through troubled times. Remind me to always show your love and grace to others around me. I need your Holy Spirit to strengthen me and remind myself to lean not on our own understanding but to trust You with all our hearts. Amen.
I leave with you this song to remind us that God is so good all the time.