Bible Reading: James 5
If you grew up around a typical African parent, you didn’t need to be a Bible scholar reading the Book of James to be reminded about your like-humanity with others.
In our reading today, James writes:
Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three years and six months. James 5:17 NKJV
For every time you didn’t end up in a first position, an African parent would have drawn a comparison with those who were placed ahead of you: ‘do they have two heads?’ you’d be asked.
And there’s quite a lot of deep truth in that.
James lands on the thought of like-humanity but pretty much demonstrates it through the entire chapter.
- The rich (and those in authority generally) must not forget that those who do not have what you have are just as human, and you must not fail to treat them as such (v 1-6)
- The suffering and those enduring difficult times must not forget that those who previously endured (like Job) are just as human, and must remember that through all they endured, God had a good end in mind ( v 7-12)
- When it comes to the realities of life that we face, we must be reminded that it doesn’t happen only in our domestic corner of the world. James demonstrates that the power of Christian community should be leveraged in the realities that life throws at us. We should be prayed for, we should be held accountable, etc. (v 13-16)
- When we grapple with situations of faith (and of following Jesus generally), we must not forget that Elijah (and by extension, all God’s greats) was just as human, and must not think little of the extents and fruit God can bring forth in us (v 16-18)
Let this sameness of human nature serve as an encouragement for you, not the African parent’s voice breathing pressure down your throat.
Be encouraged today that God is very well aware of your humanity and all that comes with it; but within that space of your humanity, He still invites you to thrive in His grand purpose for you.
If God wanted angels here, He has more than enough in heaven! He has more than enough angels to speak in every place where I’m afraid to; He has more than enough angels to worship Him every time I don’t feel like; He has more than enough angels to lead on all the platforms I freak away from; but in His wisdom, He chose to put me right in those places. He invites us to look beyond what feels like the weakness of humanity to a grand purpose where others, just like us- with the very same emotional framework, susceptibility to pressure and temptation, fears and weaknesses untold- have already thrived!
Elijah was as human as we are, and yet when he prayed earnestly that no rain would fall, none fell for three and a half years! Then, when he prayed again, the sky sent down rain and the earth began to yield its crops. James 5:17-18 NLT