2 Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, 3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. 4 And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.
5 But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him. 6 But he must ask in faith without any doubting, for the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind. 7 For that man ought not to expect that he will receive anything from the Lord, 8 being a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.James 1:2-8
When you get older, you work hard at staying out of that narrow void between a rock and hard place. Invariably, as much as you try, you get, as they say in New York, “jammed up.” There are those predicaments that cause us “over-reactors” to squirm and flounder, making matters even worse. We’re always one jiggle or jostle too many. At that point we normally cry out to God for help. Rest easy, even the wisest guys eventually get themselves stuck in a quagmire.
You wonder if James’ faith promise will work in some dilemmas. We think they’re far too complex. Seems like we fall into thorny places where it’s going to hurt whichever way we turn.
But you’ve got to believe this promise, otherwise there is no hope, nowhere to turn other than to your own devices. Fact of the matter is, everyone lacks wisdom. If you think you don’t, you must (or will) become acquainted with the old water skier’s adage, “pride comes before the fall.” (Proverbs 16:18)
James says we’re to simply ask and the Lord provides wisdom for the moment generously and without a lecture. One can assume that this request can come early on. If you’ve been around the block a few times, you might want this to be the first step on your check list. The “without reproach” means we shouldn’t get the familiar reprimand, “Oh, ye of little faith.” (Matthew 8:26) That is, until we doubt the wisdom will come, perhaps in time. Therein lies the catch. We are to ask in faith without doubting.
And so it goes, we all lack wisdom, otherwise we’re Solomon, and God said there’d be no other like him to come (1 Kings 3:12), or we’re God, and that’s, of course, ludicrous. He says he’ll grant the request liberally if we simply will not doubt. But usually we do, or at least that’s my tendency. Then the enlightenment we so desperately need may be withheld. This could become a vicious cycle. That’s why the disciples pleaded with the Lord to help their faith! (Luke 17:5)
Reminds me of the disciples in the boat when they realized they left with only one loaf of bread to eat. There at the helm is Jesus who recently fed 5,000 and 4,000 from practically nothing. And they’re worried! Then they get the lecture. (Mark 8:14-21)
At least the older of us should have some case studies to draw upon. Perhaps the Lord shed light on a subject in your past based only on a modicum of faith. He has in mine! My problem is I have a short memory.
Follow through on the faith promise often and you’ll be able to endure and solve every jam you might find yourself in.
Faith always requires a No. 2 pencil.