Verse of the Day Devotion James 5:13
“Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing praises.” – James 5:13
This verse is stating how we must deal with life’s situations in a way that is pleasing to God. The two life situations found here in our focus verse deals with bad and good circumstances. These two specific things are dealt with in a general matter, but the question that is dealt with here is: How must the Christian who is devoted to Christ and His ways, react to situations in life. So, let us look at the two found in our focus verse.
First, is anyone among you suffering? Or more personal, are we suffering? Now this suffering can take many forms. First, being in pain. Another may be regarding the death of a family member or friend. It could also be suffering from hunger. Or it could be suffering because of the ways of another toward us. There are many ways people suffer in this world. How is a Christian to react in these times? We are to pray. We are to lift up to God the things we are suffering and trust Him who can delivers us from it or bring us through it. Suffering is never enjoyable. However, Paul says the following to the Romans. “And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.” Romans 5:3-5. As James said if we are suffering we should pray, for God knows exactly what we are going through. “He was despised and forsaken of men, A man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief; And like one from whom men hide their face, He was despised, and we did not esteem Him. Surely our griefs He Himself bore, And our sorrows He carried; Yet we ourselves esteemed Him stricken, Smitten of God, and afflicted. But He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, And by His scourging we are healed.” Isaiah 53:5. He understands what we are going through. And as Jesus suffered in order to spread the good news, Paul encourages us to do the same. “But you, be sober in all things, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.” 2 Timothy 4:5. We must understand that because we suffer, we must reach out to God to help us continue the work we are called to no matter the suffering. The prayer believers are to offer in such circumstances is not necessarily for deliverance from the trial, but for the strength to endure it faithfully.
And second, we should praise God during our good times. The believer is also to pray when he is cheerful. Euthymeō, the Greek word translated cheerful, refers not to outward circumstances, but to the cheerfulness and happiness of heart that one can have whether in good times or in bad. When our hearts are comforted, it is all too easy to forget that this contentment comes ultimately and only from God. Thus, perhaps even more than when suffering, we must be reminded in times of happiness of our glad obligation to acknowledge God’s supreme role in our lives. We are to do this, James says, singing praise. This praise we lift up is actually a form of prayer which gives all honor and glory, and thanks, to the one who has provided this peace and comfort to us.
Whatever situation we find ourselves in, we must give glory to God, knowing that even during difficult times we can lift it up in prayer and He hears us and helps us. “I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how-to live-in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need. I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:12-13. So, what is important is that no matter what our circumstances we find ourselves in, we should go to God, praying and Praising Him. For He is the one who brings us through trials and gives of peace and contentment.
William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries.