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
We talked the other day about what James meant when he said that the testing of our faith produces perseverance, concluding hat he was not referencing our tolerance for pain, but rather our trust in God’s faithfulness. What I want to communicate today is that this thought on wisdom is building upon those comments.
We often read passages that flow together as a single thought and break them apart into separate passages when reading the Word. Sometimes it helps us look closer at the overall thought, but in some instances, such as this one, it costs us understanding.
In order to really look at this thought, we have to understand what James means by wisdom.
First and foremost, he is not referencing intelligence. A lot of us read this verse like this: “If any of you don’t know very much”. Sounds ridiculous, but it’s really how a lot of us read it. But that’s not what James was trying to communicate.
Wisdom, in its nature, has more to do with the application and understanding of knowledge than it does the actual knowldge itself. It is not wisdom to know that rain is wet, but it’s wisdom to know you should bring an umbrella to avoid it. It is taking information and marrying it to experience in order to use that information to actually understand the fabric of things.
With that in mind, when we see the Word talking about wisdom, it is not talking about what we know. It is talking about our ability to understand how what we know fits into God’s master story.
Now, knowing that, and knowing that this thought is building on the foundation of the previous few verses, what James is saying takes on an entirely different light. Instead of saying, “If you are ignorant, Ask God to teach you”, James was actually saying, “Take joy in your trials because they mature your understanding of God, which in turn strengthens your resolve... and if you don’t understand how your trials fit into what God is doing, ask Him for perspective, and He will give it to you.
James was still talking about our trials and the maturing of our faith! He was encouraging believers to rest in the understanding that God is bettering them, not harming them, and that if they genuinely don’t get that, the solution was to go before God and ask Him to shift their thinking!
I don’t know about you, but I have had many instances in life where I just struggled to understand why I was facing what I was going through. The longer I have walked with God, the more satisfied I have been to just say, “God, do you. I trust you”. But early in my walk, I occasionally had to stop and say, “God, I trust there’s something going on here that I don’t understand but please help me to see this from your perspective. Help me to trust you.”
And you know what, He always helped me see things clearer.
It’s so beautiful, isn’t it? The thought that not only is God working behind my story to make room for me in HIS, but He actually wants to include me in the process.
No matter what you are going through, God will use it to develop you. He may not be the author of your pain, but He will certainly not allow it to ruin the story He has been writing since before you were born. Trust that. And it you are in a place where you are so broken that you just can’t understand, don’t be afraid. Go to Him, ask for His perspective. See what happens.