After opening his letter with greetings, James encouraged his readers to find joy in their trials, realizing that trials help our faith grow stronger. In verse five, he seems to suddenly change the subject. Or does he?
If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. (James 1:5)
Why does James suddenly mention wisdom in the middle of a discussion on trials? It’s probably because we need wisdom to make sense of our trials and to learn from them. Instead of complaining about our problems, James wants us to pray, “Lord, what are You trying to teach me?”
Pastors are like magnets for bad news. Everybody tells us their bad news, and I’m glad they do, because it’s a privilege for a shepherd to be able to comfort his flock. Over the years in ministry, people have given me many, many prayer requests regarding problems they were facing. In most cases, people asked me to pray for their problem to go away. Very seldom did anyone ask me to pray that they would learn something from it.
In case you think I’m being critical, let me clarify that I pray for my problems to go away, too. There is nothing wrong with asking God to take away our problems; the apostle Paul asked three times to have his thorn in the flesh removed. But if like Paul God says to us, “My grace is sufficient for you,” we need to accept that answer, and seek to discover His purpose in allowing our trial.
I like the polite way that James says, If any of you lacks wisdom. We all lack it to a certain degree, and we all need to request an order of wisdom from Heaven. Thankfully, it is an order that God loves to fill generously. When we ask sincerely, we can rest assured that an answer will come. There are some things we will not totally understand until we get to Heaven, but we can still make some sense of our trials here on Earth.
Today’s Good News is that we don’t have to go through life on our own know-how. God’s wisdom is available to all who ask.
Now, go share the Good News…
FAITH in ACTION!
If you are joining us part way through this series on James, you can access the devotionals you missed in the archives. The series started on June 1.
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