Our family shed some tears this week as we buried a small pet. He was, in fact very small; a praying mantis who lived in an aquarium in the guestroom. We had gotten attached to him as we do to all the little creatures who are part of our lives (part of the wonder of having a garden is the parade of creatures we get to observe) and we felt bad as his lifespan ended. We buried him in the garden as the leaves fell and I reflected how life, like nature, can be full of changes. We can count on things or people sometimes for years but change is part of life.
One of the phrases in today’s reading has run through my mind for as long as I have pondered life; God does not change (v. 17). Everything else changes but God does not. God does not change himself. He does not change His mind (Numbers 23:19). He does not change in how He loves everyone. The psalmist notes how nature may change but God will not (Ps. 102:27). I have always found comfort in these words in James 1- God doesn’t change.
James then gives some very practical advice on how to life our faith . Verse 19 says be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry. Again James says in verse 26; control your tongue. If you consider yourself religious, take care of the physical needs of others such as the poor (widows and orphans) in their distress (v. 27). I can remember times when I was in distress and how others were a comfort to me. I know God would want us all to remember those who are in many kinds of distress and to have compassion on them.