“If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.” James 1: 5
Ok, so, James says that the testing of our faith through all kinds of trials produces perseverance. This, “developed”, perseverance in turn makes us mature and complete so that our faith is not found lacking in any way. So, he says, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds…”
Here is my question, “How is that possible?” How is it possible to be joyful in the face of suffering, when all you want is relief from it? How can we remain focused on the big picture of building and deepening our faith, when it hurts? According to James, it requires wisdom. If we don’t have wisdom joy in pain is not possible.
First, we must seek to possess the right wisdom. There is a human wisdom and understanding based on the nature and philosophy of this world. However the bible tells us this wisdom leads to death. “There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death.” Proverbs 14: 12 When we face trials the wisdom of the world tells us to get out of them as quickly as we can no matter what we have to do or say, just get relief. Wisdom of the world says it isn’t fair or right that you should be subjected to trials that test your faith, because God owes you the “blessed life”. When we labor under worldly wisdom the pain of trials will not lead to increased faith, but lead to an anemic and dying faith.
Here is the good news. James says we can ask God for His wisdom if we are lacking it (which most of us are from time to time). And the part that is amazing is God will give it to us without faulting us for not having it in the first place. Wow! God wants to give us His wisdom and knows that we can only get it through Him. So when we ask, rather than begrudgingly doling it out, He joyously provides it to us for His Glory.
The Bible teaches us two things about wisdom:
1. It is only found in God through Jesus Christ.
“The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom; all who follow his precepts have good understanding. To Him (God) belong eternal praise.” Psalm 111: 10
“The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.” Proverbs 9: 10
2. If we want it we must desire it and ask for it.
“If any of you lacks wisdom let him ask God…”
When we find ourselves in the midst of trials of many kinds let’s ask God for wisdom to endure and grow.