So don’t be misled, my dear brothers and sisters. Whatever is good and perfect is a gift coming down to us from God our Father, who created all the lights in the heavens. He never changes or casts a shifting shadow. He chose to give birth to us by giving us his true word. And we, out of all creation, became his prized possession.
Our culture has been flooded with anxiety in recent years. From the pandemic to politics, from financial worries to racial tensions, a huge number of people report – and many more fail to seek help for – anxiety and depression. In addition to fear and concern about the immediate problems we are facing, there also seems to be an epidemic of angst. Angst is existential anxiety, worry about the big issues of life and about life itself. Is there any good in the world? Why am I here? What is it all about, anyway? The questions of angst gnaw at the modern soul, just as they have troubled people for millennia. We may have a lot to worry about, and we definitely worry a lot about it. More than we should.
James, who wasn’t shy about laying heavy burdens on his readers, penned some beautifully hopeful words in these verses that should help alleviate some of our angst. We read here about who God is and who we are, and it’s all good news. God is the unchanging giver of good things. He is the Creator of light, of perfection and of human life. We are the recipients of God’s grace. We were born by God’s good word and live as “his prized possession.” There is no hint of existential crisis in these words. Instead, we find here the confident assurance of God’s goodness toward the people He created and cares for. Our lives may not be perfect and we may face hard days, but God never changes and his light always shines brightly over those He loves.
What good gifts has God given you? What perfect provision has He brought into your life? First and best of all, you have heard and responded to the Good News of Jesus. You know the Savior and have the promise of eternal life with your Creator. God has also surrounded you with brothers and sisters of faith, people who love Jesus and share his love with you. God created you for a purpose and gives your life meaning. When you have a bad day, God is still good and always ready to hear your prayers. When you don’t know which way to turn, God’s word gives you direction and the Spirit speaks wisdom into your heart. All these good gifts prove who God is and who He says that you are. So, unplug from the world’s worry cycle, and stop feeding the monsters of anxiety and angst. Remember that you are God’s prized possession, and rejoice in the good and perfect gifts He gives. Let the steady, warm light of God’s glory fill your heart and show you the way forward.
Thank You, Father, for the good gifts you give me. Cast worry and fear from my heart, and fill me instead with Your light and the wisdom of Your word. Help me to remember who You are and who You created me to be, through Jesus Christ. Amen.
Pastor Mike Mirakian