Are any among you suffering? They should pray. Are any cheerful? They should sing songs of praise. Are any among you sick? They should call for the elders of the church and have them pray over them, anointing them with oil in the name of the Lord. The prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise them up; and anyone who has committed sins will be forgiven. Therefore confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another, so that you may be healed. The prayer of the righteous is powerful and effective (James 5:13 - 16, NRSV).
I read this a few weeks ago and never completed a thought on it. This morning I was looking through my margins during my quiet time, or my TAWG (time alone with God, thank you Amy for emailing me a new name for my devos).
I wrote “never be rescued but act”.
I certainly have been the object of rescue, although I usually sense it in hindsight. The present takes the act of rescue and turns it into steps of logic. Often, we go from one step to the other without thought. One reason could be because steps are hard. Hard does not mean rescue to us.
Rescue removes us from a situation unscathed, unmarked, and without fatigue. Rescue allows us to powder our nose before we make a hair-flipping exit. Rescue is appealing, but this life has not provided me much of this. My rescues happen by the skin of my teeth. I have scars and mental images left from these near misses. My rescues are born out of a million tiny decisions in a direction, but they are still unlikely and leave me on my knees, grateful.
This verse is centered in the present. It is the hard and fast how to, of “I have a problem”. I have often sat with people who did not want to hear this verse. They do not want to act, but be rescued. They want to say that cool one-liner existing only in movie land, as the building blows up behind them. Personally, I would like to be rescued of these 15 pounds, instead of having to get on the treadmill.
James say, no. If we suffer, we pray. If we are cheerful, we sing. If we are sick, we call for the body of Christ. If we sin, we ask forgiveness, we confess. It is in action, not in rescue that we demonstrate faithfulness, a steadfast love for Jesus.
Are you in a place where it would be easier to be rescued than to act?
Father, thank you for your methods of rescue. Thank you for showing us that we are the beloved in the way that you are in relationship with us. Where we struggle, let our hearts turn to you in prayer. Let every moment of this weekend turn us to you in celebration and in sorrow. Amen.