God Makes Good Use Out of the Tools That You Judge To Be Useless

The Holiness of the Here and Now – Part 78

Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God.

–James 1:19-20 (ESV)

If only you knew what those events really are, that you call obstacles, setbacks, and delays. If only you saw the truth about those things in which you only find fault, and accuse without reason. Then, you would be utterly embarrassed. You would be ashamed of your complaining, seeing it for the blasphemy that it is. But you don’t realize this. And so, what is actually the will of God, which should be revered, instead goes unrecognized and blasphemed by God’s own children.

–Jean Pierre de Caussade

When James warned us to be slow to speak, he was, I imagine, advising us about our behavior toward other people. But I do not imagine that this is the full extent to which we must obey this injunction. Neither is the “anger of man” that James warns against directed only at other people.

You can be slow to anger toward other people, but quick to anger against a difficult situation. You can be slow to speak in public, but carelessly render your judgment about whatever problem seems to be getting in your way. I would say, then, that we must be slow to get angry at our problems, and avoid uttering rash judgments about them.

Jean Pierre de Caussade put it in stronger terms: what you think is harmless complaining is nothing less than blasphemy. How can this be? Because, although you might not be slandering God, you are slandering the tools he chooses to use. God can use obstacles to advance you, he can propel you forward with setbacks, and he can use delays to get you there early.

There is a common proverb that says, “It is a poor workman who blames his tools.” In other words, if you had more skill, you could do more with the tools you have. How foolish it is, then, to curse the tools when the workman who holds them is God!

The Holiness of the Here and Now is a daily devotional that I am currently working on. When I am finished, there will be 365 chapters like the one above. Meanwhile, I am sharing this work-in-progress. Like the Facebook page to see content like this in your feed.