We are meditating on the theme, "Strong at the broken places," and we are discovering that although life deals blows to us all, those who meet life with the right responses and the right inner attitudes are those who turn their weaknesses into strengths. I know some Christians who believe that they ought to be exempt from the cruel blows of life. A young man who was stunned after failing his examination said, "I cannot understand. I prayed very hard before the examination, and I lived an exemplary life for the Lord. Why, oh why, should He fail me at this important moment?" Later he confessed to a friend, "As a result of God letting me down, my faith in Him has been shattered." I can sympathize with the young man's feelings, of course, but I cannot agree with his conclusions. Suppose prayer alone could enable us to pass examinations - what would happen? Prior to examination time, classrooms would be deserted, and everyone would flock to the churches for prayer and meditation. Not a bad situation, you might think. But what would happen to the minds of young people if prayer alone brought success? They would become blunted by lack of study. I suspect the young man I have just referred to was depending more on prayer than on diligent and painstaking study. Now prayer and study make a good combination, but prayer without study never helped anyone pass an examination. Christians are not exempt from the natural laws that govern the universe. We may through prayer be able to overcome them, but we are not able to avoid them.
Prayer: Father, thank You for reminding me that even though I am a Christian, I am still governed by natural laws that apply equally to everyone. I cannot be exempt, but through You I can overcome. I am so grateful. Amen.
For Further Study
1. What is James teaching us?
2. How does Paul apply this to Timothy?