This is the heading for a passage of scripture that I read. James 1:2-8 says, “Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.
If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking. But when you ask him, be sure that your faith is in God alone. Do not waver, for a person with divided loyalty is as unsettled as a wave of the sea that is blown and tossed by the wind. Such people should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Their loyalty is divided between God and the world, and they are unstable in everything they do.”
This is a particularly relevant passage for me, because I going through some troubles at the moment. All of you who regularly read this blog will have an idea of what I am talking about. The thing is that I don’t often see it as an opportunity to grow. I know that it will make me grow and I know that I will one day reap the rewards but, right now, it feels like anything but. Going through problems attacks your faith and it can play tricks on your mind. You start questioning everything and start to doubt what the bible tells you. This is the real enemy behind the problem, trying to get into your head and confuse you. When you are in any sort of trouble, this is much easier to achieve than when everything is in order. This is why James says what he does next. We can ask God for wisdom, and what is more, He WILL give it to us. This filled me with hope. I asked God straight away for just that. Wisdom, and plenty of it.
The problem comes in straight after that. If we ask for wisdom, we must make sure that our faith is in God alone. I paused. Is my faith in God alone? If I’m honest (which I usually try to be) I don’t think it is. You see, very often our prayers are about things that we need. Whether it is money, a job, clients, a car, friends, a church where we will feel welcome, even our health. Is our faith in God, or are we asking for something to put our faith in? Please don’t get me wrong, I am not saying that it is wrong to ask for these things, nor am I saying that they are bad. I am merely asking where our faith lies. When business is slow, I’m on my knees praying for more clients. Is that because I trust God or is it because I trust the money coming in and I need it? It hurts just to ask that question, because I’m not really sure of the answer. Probably a bit of both. I could also ask if no business comes in, do I pack it in and get a job or do I continue to trust God? I guess that is why we need to ask for wisdom. I don’t think there is a right answer here, unless we have heard from God what to do, then we need to be obedient. The passage then goes on to speak about what happens if we put our faith in both God and the world, and it is not pretty. In fact it says that we should not expect anything from God. A bit harsh? It just shows how important wisdom and faith is.
I know as I type this that it is going to come back and bite me as, next time I am worrying about things, my wife will refer me to this post. I guess this is what I need from time to time, that is one of the things that makes her such a wonderful wife. I don’t really know what the answer is (yet), so I’m not going to give any advice here. I just thought that I would share this in case others are struggling too. What I do know is that I need faith, in God not in the world, and I need wisdom. Lots of it. If there are any others out there who are also struggling with troubles (which I’m sure there are), please join me in trying to see the opportunity for growth (however hard it may be). My prayer for all of us is that God gives us all the wisdom that we require and that we are able to keep our faith in Him, and only Him.