Recently I was memorizing James 1:1-5 and began to see these verses in a different way. Read verses 1-4 and think about what is says. Does that really mean we are to find joy in difficulties? That’s just not easy to do. Then I discovered in verse 5 something I’d not seen before. But before we get to that, let me share something else.
When I discovered this truth, I offered to lead our women’s team devotion time one week and was prepared to share this new insight. That was pre-flood in Nashville. Then on the weekend of May 1, an unheard of disaster hit our city and many others in Tennessee. We cancelled the meeting that week as a result of folks not being able to get to the office and rescheduled about two weeks later.
As we began our meeting and I shared, it took on a whole different meaning as many faced such difficulties due to the flood. In fact, Tanya, one of our team members lost her home and car. How did God know we would need this lesson that week? We now know He postponed it for this week. But the thing is, Tanya was already counting it joy as she’d shared both her pain and her strength in Christ with our team. She’s hurting and sad, but she and her husband have already been able to see what God has done to draw them into a deeper walk with Him because of this loss. That is something they wouldn’t trade for all the possessions they lost. That’s counting it all JOY!
Our first thought in trouble is usually how can I get out of or through the issue and get on with “normal” life. Charles Spurgeon said, “In shunning a trial, we are seeking to avoid a blessing.” God truly has incredible blessings as we seek Him in trials. I’ve learned so much through infertility, loved ones with cancer, difficulties with children, and a mom with dementia that I’d never would have known about God if I hadn’t been so desperate for Him.
Job 23:10 tell us, “Yet He knows the way I have taken; when He has tested me, I will emerge as pure gold.” That is why we can find joy even in hard times. We are being purified through it all.
But my new revelation came with verse 5. It tells us that if we lack wisdom, we should ask God to give us His wisdom and it says He will do that, generously and without criticism. I’d never really considered the order of these verses, but it dawned on me, when we are facing trials, our first thought should be to ask God for wisdom in that situation, and as we do, we will be able to find strength and even joy.
I began to think about wisdom and Solomon came to mind immediately. When God asked him what he wanted more than anything, and he could’ve had anything he wanted…riches, lands, fame…he asked God for wisdom. He led well while he focused on godly wisdom, but when he lost his focus, he began to fail. (1 Kings 3) Later in life, Solomon became unfaithful to God (1 Kings 11) and no longer led as the king he once was.
In my mind¸ I know that wisdom helps us count it joy in trials, but had never really seen the strong connection till now. Our FIRST reaction to trials should be to plead for God’s wisdom to navigate the situation according to His wisdom.
In the book Abide in Christ by Andrew Murray, he says this, “and live, above all, day by day in the blessed truth that, as He Himself, the living Christ Jesus, is your wisdom, your first and last care must ever be this along: to abide in Him. Abiding in Him, His wisdom will come to you as the spontaneous out-flowing of a life rooted in Him. I abide in Christ, who was made unto us wisdom from God; wisdom will be given me.”
How are you daily abiding in Him, seeking His wisdom, and counting it joy when you face trials?
For more inspiration, go to Inspiration for Leaders.