February 19 I Monday
“If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.” —James 1:5
Given the previous few verses, James 1:5 seems like a sudden change of topic. James was just writing about joyously facing trials so we can be made complete and not lack anything, but then he explains what to do if we lack wisdom. Why the contradiction? To answer that, we have to understand what James means by “wisdom.”
Wisdom is a disposition of humility in the face of trials. It is accepting that we are not exempt from hardships, but choose to depend on God in the midst of them. A wise person endures and trusts rather than pouting and complaining over why a bad thing has happened. It comes down to our attitudes before God. Wisdom gives humility. If we are not humble about our trials, and keep asking, “Why me?” which makes the assumption, “I am entitled to be different and free from trials,” then we must ask for wisdom, this disposition of humility, and it will change our negative experience into a positive one to where we will be quite at home asking, “Why not me?” This may seem unrealistic, but the wisdom we seek is not of human origin, but wisdom that comes from heaven.
James also tells us, “But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind” (1:6). God is faithful. He has promised to give us wisdom generously and without finding fault, so the only thing stopping us from receiving wisdom is a lack of faith. If we do not ask believingly, we are like a wave, tossed here and there, driven by emotions and uncertainties, rendering us incapable of remaining joyful in our struggles. James calls this being double-minded, unstable in all our ways.
Conversely, James says, “Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.” (1:12). The focus is now taken off where we are in our trials and placed in the future. It is the person trusting wholly in God who is capable of persevering through trials. To that person, the focus is not on their present suffering or hardship, but on the certainty of Christ in their lives while they also look to a future certainty—the crown of life God has promised to those who love Him. When we love God, we trust Him and when we trust Him, we can go through our days as though our problems are already solved, for in the eyes of God they are.
Prayer: Lord God, I know you are far greater than any struggles I face. I humbly ask for Your wisdom, believing Your promise to give it generously so that I may endure. Thank You, Lord.