This past Sunday I preached on James 1:2-8, which begins by saying, “My brothers and sisters, think of the various tests you encounter as occasions for joy.” James goes on to tell us that these tests produce endurance and when coupled with faith, God gives us wisdom.
Last night I went to pick up Emma from the airport and I took our dog, Stanley, with me.
We love to take him on car rides, but he does not care for it. He is simultaneously terrified and in love with the car. He fights you when you try to get him in the car, and once inside he loves to stick his head out the window but he pants the whole time even when it’s not hot, and he is very unstable and never lays down. He is very high maintenance.
He doesn’t really get car sick anymore; he just doesn’t care for car rides. But we’re trying to help him confront his fears, so we take him with us when we can. A trip to the airport is a perfect reason. It’s short enough that he might enjoy it without being too long so that he starts to get antsy.
We had a very successful trip to the airport. We usually fly out of Love Field, but Emma got a good price on a Delta flight, so I was picking her up from DFW. I very much loathe that airport for many reasons including the $2 toll they now charge you just to pick someone up. Living in Chicago engendered a lot of hatred for O’Hare Airport, but DFW now has retaken its #1 spot on my list of least favorite airports.
Anyhow, we made it to get Emma no problem, Stanley was loving that wind through his hair. We made it all the way back home, pulled into the garage and we were home! “Great job, Stanley!” I said as I went to open the back door for him to get out. As soon as I opened the door, he looked up at me, and then vomited. I stood there staring at him and said, “I take it back, you tripped at the finish line my friend.”
I instantly thought of the James passage that I had preached only 36 hours before. This is what I get, I thought to myself. This is what I get for preaching to everyone that they need to see their tests as occasions for joy.
Stanley is no stranger to vomiting. He often will come inside from playing, very hot and excited, panting as hard as he can and he will drink all of his water too fast and vomit it up. At least that is mostly just water. The car vomit last night was a lovely mix of water and his dinner.
As I cleaned it up, I realized that it could have been much worse. At least half of it came out of the door and landed on the garage floor, which is better than the carpet in our house, which is his preferred vomit locale. This is also when I heard my parents’ and in-laws’ voices in my head saying, “This is great practice for when you have kids!” They are all way too excited about the prospect of grandchildren.
I just laughed and scratched Stanley’s head. “Time for bed” I told him and he ran off to jump up on our bed and nestle up nice and cozy right on top of my pillows. Just like he does every night. He is a tyrant.
Tests from God come in many different varieties, and sometimes they are soul crushing, and sometimes it’s just a little vomit. Well this was a lot of vomit, but you see the point. God gives wisdom to those who ask, and God helps us endure the large and small challenges in our lives.
We will continue to our sermon series on the Letter of James all throughout the month of September. I hope you will join us in worship!
Have a wonderful week my friends,