When South African pastor Andrew Murray was visiting England in 1895, he began to suffer pain from a previous back injury. While he was recuperating, his hostess told him of a woman who was in great trouble and wanted to know if he had any counsel for her. Murray said, “Give her this paper which I have been writing for my own [encouragement]. It may be that she will find it helpful.” This is what Murray wrote:
“In time of trouble say:
First—God brought me here. It is by His will I am in this strait place. In that I will rest.
Next—He will keep me in His love and give me grace in this trial to behave as His child.
Then—He will make the trial a blessing, teaching me lessons He intends me to learn, and working in me the grace He means to bestow.
Last—In His good time He can bring me out again—how and when He knows.
I am here—by God’s appointment, in His keeping, under His training, for His time.”
We want the instant solution, the quick fix, but some things cannot be disposed of so readily; they can only be accepted. God will keep us by His love. By His grace, we can rest in Him.
Dear Lord, it’s hard to endure times of illness and suffering. Comfort me and help me to trust You.
When God permits suffering, He also provides comfort.
James saw himself as a servant of Christ (James 1:1), even though he was Christ’s half-brother (Matt. 13:55). He did not come to faith until after Jesus’s resurrection (John 7:3–5; Acts 1:14; 1 Cor. 15:7) and eventually became a leader in the church at Jerusalem (Acts 15:13). In writing this letter to Jewish believers who had been scattered because of persecution, he focuses on Jewish thinking and values: It is highly practical, intensely candid, and wisdom-oriented. Because of its practical application, it has been referred to as the “Proverbs” of the New Testament.