September 18: Wisdom, Trials and Prayer

Read James 1:1-21

It is better to possess wisdom than it is to have gold or silver in large quantities. But how does one go about obtaining wisdom? James, half-brother to the Lord Himself, gave us some insight as he wrote under the Spirit’s leading.

Of course, verses 5-8 are of special importance to us here. They are the ones that specifically address our pursuit of wisdom. But you probably noted that those verses are bookended by another subject…that of trials.

What is your normal response to trials? Even now I am reflecting back on a time not long ago when a toilet broke, the sewage backed up into the basement, and we drowned a cell phone in a stream near our house.

While trials often remind us of our need for wisdom in specific situations, the wise person is one who understands the divine purpose and benefits of difficulty. Those unwanted circumstances, you see, have the capacity to produce godly character qualities in the life of a Jesus follower. Persevering in the midst of them is key to experiencing growth and to receiving a future crown. The wise person who understands the upside of difficulty meets challenges with a sense of joy and perseveres through them.

Not only does the wise person respond well to trials, but he/she also isn’t afraid to seek wisdom in the face of trials. James says we can obtain wisdom in difficult times by simply asking God in prayer.

When difficult times come, it is easy to shift into an “I’ll fix it” gear. Almost as a default setting, we scurry to try to resolve it ourselves or call an expert. While these are not necessarily wrong responses later on, our first action should be to call out to God. In prayer, ask Him for the wisdom. Don’t approach it as a long shot. Don’t see it as a “well, maybe this will help” thing to do. No, come to Him confidently in prayer. Ask Him for the wisdom you lack. He loves to respond.