When something goes wrong in your life, where do you go? What do you turn to when tragedy comes into your life? Do you turn to drinking, drugs, work, sports, bed, eating, sex, or something else to cope with the tragedy that came into your life?
Turning to any of these is putting yourself into denial of whatever it is that has gone wrong. You must not delude yourself with something that will prolong the tragedy being experienced and to further yourself into depression. Turning to any of these also shows that you have no faith in God. You should always turn to God first especially when there is tragedy in your life.
Clearly stated in the New Testament book of James chapter five is how to react to anything wrong coming into our lives. It even states what we should do when things are going well. Too many times however Christians (me included) have not or do not follow the direction given to us in James chapter five.
Is anyone among you suffering? Then he must pray. Is anyone cheerful? He is to sing praises. Is anyone among you sick? Then he must call for the elders of the church and they are to pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord; and the prayer offered in faith will restore the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up, and if he has committed sins, they will be forgiven him. Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much. (James 5:13-16)
James 5:13 informs us that if anyone among us is suffering that this person must pray. Note that this verse is not talking about being sick as that is covered in verse 14. This verse is directly letting us know that for any suffering, we are to pray yet it doesn’t tell us how to pray. To know how to pray, we need to turn to Ephesians 6:18 which tells us, “With all prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints,” and also to Philippians 4:6 which informs us to, “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.”
From this we know that when suffering we are to pray in the Spirit meaning in Jesus Christ and that we are to be attentive when we pray and not be ad lib but deliberate and persistent and specifically request of God what it is that is causing our suffering. The saints referred to were very deliberate, persistent and specific with their prayers to God and so should we.
Also in our life we should not be anxious for anything yet that we should request of God what we need in our prayer as we give thanks to God for all He has given to us. This one is a tough one because when we are suffering, it is hard to give thanks for anything and we are most likely going to be tempted to do something we would normally not do if we were not suffering in some way just to get our suffering to stop. Here we need to remember the promise God made to us that we would not be pushed beyond our ability to handle temptations we encounter as long as we lean on Him for our strength and not try to handle it on our own. 1 Corinthians 10:13 – “No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it.”
Also, James 5:13 lets us know that anyone cheerful is to sing praises. This seems like a common sense thing that one would do but how many times have you done it? I know that for me, I’m more likely to complain about something wrong than to sing praises when things are going right and I’m happy. Remember, God in both the bad and the good times and give to Him the honor and glory He deserves when things are going well for you and you are full of cheer. God gave to you the breath you just even if it was caused from a manmade machine.
In James 5:14, we learn that if we are sick that we should call for the elders of the church so that they can pray over us and anoint us with oil in the name of the Lord. This is very different than what I’ve experienced growing up and in my adult life as it is most often that someone from the church who is a friend of the person who is sick tells the members at the church about the person being sick and requests prayer. Here however, we are instructed that if we are the person who is sick, that we are to specifically call for the elders of the church. The elders of the church are the men who are well founded in their faith in the Lord Jesus. So this directive doesn’t mean that we should call them for anything minor like a cold or flu or something to that affect. This is for the serious sickness like cancer, amputation, chronic back pain, etc.
Now James 5:15 tells us that a prayer offered in faith will restore the one who is sick, that the Lord will raise the person up and if that person has committed sins that they will be forgiven him. This is a very informing in that this is not talking about the faith that the person who is sick has, it is talking about the faith that the elders have when they are praying over the person who is sick. If anyone has ever told you that you are sick because you do not have enough faith in God to be better, inform them about James 5:15 and let them know that they need to study the Bible and get their faith in God right and pray for you.
Note too that James 5:15 says that if the sick person had committed sins that the sins would be forgiven. Being sick does not always come from sin but in some cases it does. Take for example sexual transmitted diseases (STDs). STDs are a sickness directly related to sin because if the people who have STDs had not had sexual relations outside of marriage, STDs would not exist. If abstinence had been and was practiced by everyone and if perverts would abstain from sexual encounters with animals, there would be no STDs.
Reminding us to confess our sins to one another, and pray for one another so that we may be healed is James 5:16. This powerful verse is telling us to be there for each other with strong faith in God’s promises that He is here for us and that He loves us. We know from Romans 8:28, “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” that what we are going through in our suffering is going to work out for something good, even if we cannot see it during our current suffering. James 5:16 also reminds us that the effective prayer of the righteous can accomplish much.
So disregard wherever it was you used to turn when tragedy came into your life if it was not to James 5:13-16 and study these verses and the rest of the Holy Bible more on your own. Discover the promises God has made to you and learn of His great and perfect love for you.
Learn for yourself the truth of God’s word and do not take my word for it. You owe it to yourself to make the best well informed decision you can make on how you will live your life throughout eternity.
Remember, you and only you can make your choice to follow Jesus as it is a personal gift from God to you that only you can accept for yourself. No one else can ever make your choice for you as it is yours and only your choice to make for yourself in accepting Jesus as your savior.
I suggest that you make a wise choice and research the truth of Jesus Christ for yourself. I did and found that He exists and has changed my life for the better. I pray in Jesus’ name that you do too.