For me, shaving is not a matter of just running the razor over my chin once or twice. No, I have to be sure to cut off every little hair at the skin level. Otherwise some of them, their ends sharpened by the razor, will curl back and penetrate my skin. When that happens, that spot on my face becomes itchy and actually painful. So, I have to take the time to shave very closely, making sure every patch of skin is smooth. For me shaving is a real trial, and I hate it!
Actually, that’s not quite true. For a long time in my life I did hate shaving. But that’s not my attitude any longer. Now, when I shave I don’t think about how much the process irritates me. In fact, I’m learning to give God praise for every swipe of the razor!
What’s changed? The closeness with which I must shave hasn’t changed, and I still must occasionally bear the pain of accidentally cutting into my skin with the razor. So, the sources of my former irritation haven’t changed at all. What has changed is my attitude.
James 1:2-4 My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, 3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. 4 But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.
For me, having to shave is a trial. And James is quite clear about how I am to handle the trials that come into my life – count them all joy!
So, believe it or not, I’m learning to rejoice in my shaving. Instead of continually lamenting how tedious and sometimes painful it is, I’ve begun to give God praise with every stroke. After all, He has given me the privilege of shaving in a bathroom that’s nice and warm, even in the dead of winter. I don’t have to go out into the cold and snow to get a bucket of water, then build a fire to heat it up. Instead, I can just walk a few steps inside my house, and turn on all the hot water I want. And the safety razors I use are so much better and more comfortable than the implements people had to use long ago.
I know that shaving is pretty trivial as trials go. Most of us will have much more serious trials to contend with at points in our lives. But, in terms of our attitudes toward them, a trial is a trial. If I learn to count it all joy when I deal with the trial of shaving, I’ll be much better prepared to count it all joy, and let patience have her perfect work, when the real trials come.