Consider it pure joy, my brothers,
whenever you face trials of many kinds,
because you know that the testing of your faith
Perseverance must finish its work
so that you may be mature and complete,
not lacking anything.
If any of you lacks wisdom,
he should ask God, who gives generously
to all without finding fault,
and it will be given to him.
JAMES 1:2-5 (NIV)
No gift quite matches the gift of perspective. In the best of times, our vision remains weak. We cannot catch even the briefest glimpse of the future: we have no idea what the next year, week, day or even hour might bring. We tend to make our judgements based on superficial, outward observations. When worries and trials push their way into our lives, we often draw back within ourselves, further limiting our eyesight and understanding.
For those who tend to live life on “cruise control,” imagining that tomorrow will be just like today, James offers this corrective: “Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, ‘If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that’” (James 4:14-15).
One of the most valuable outcomes of such a perspective is the development of a “long view” regarding present circumstances. Instead of demanding immediate answers, we place our trust in the Lord for ultimate results, “Be patient, then brothers, until the Lord’s coming,” James writes. “See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop and how patient he is for the autumn and spring rains. You too, be patient and stand firm, because the Lord’s coming is near … The Lord is full of compassion and mercy” (James 5:7, 8, 11).
No matter what our situation may be, Biblical perspective is the only one that can bring us such perseverance and patience … and peace.
But the wisdom from above is first of all pure.
It is also peace loving, gentle at all times,
and willing to yield to others.
It is full of mercy and the fruit of good deeds.
JAMES 3:17 (NLT)