One of my favorite things to do when we get together with family, is to take a walk down memory lane together. I am excited about the things God is doing today, but I think it is always good to reflect on all that God has done for us in the past. When I look back memory lane, I see clear evidence of God’s sustaining and protecting hand. He has led in so many situations that, at the time, seemed hopeless. Today I want to share something I learned about a verse that is very unique in Scripture.
James 1:2 says, “My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations.” I have taught this verse many times before and have heard it taught many times. However, recently, in my own study of the verse, I discovered something that really touched my heart. The word, “count,” has the idea of considering something. It literally gives us a word picture of looking back over your shoulder to reflect on something that has happened in the past. This understanding of the meaning of this word shed an entirely new light on this verse for me.
I don’t believe the central meaning of the verse is that we reply with a, “yippie” when bad things come to us. It is far deeper than that. I believe that this verse is telling us that when present temptations and trials confront us, that we should not be consumed with their magnitude. I believe this verse is telling us that when our present temptations and trials come, we ought to take a quick walk down memory lane with the Holy Spirit. When present challenges present themselves, we need to look back at all the hurdles God helped us to cross in the past, that we thought were insurmountable!
Think about it today. All of us are facing or will face things in our lives that will seem to be impossible. We will look at these things with some despair in our hearts. We will think that there is no way in the world that we will ever get over, or past this challenge. This is the perfect time to take a walk down memory lane with the Holy Spirit and allow Him to point out how He has provided for every need we have ever had in the past. He can show us how He has never left us or forsaken us in those difficult times. Now … I can have genuine joy in the midst of my temptations and trials. I can do this because, my walk down memory lane has provided much needed encouragement and reinforcement. I don’t recommend looking back too often at past failures, but even in those times in my past, I can reflect on the mercy of God! What an incredible God we serve!