Last week someone asked, “why isn’t God stopping Hurricane Ian, or better yet, why did He even allow the storm to begin in the first place?”
If we are all being completely honest, at times along our faith journey we have found ourselves in difficult places and have asked questions like: “Why, God?”, “Where are You, God?”, or “Are You really good, God”? If we take our honesty to a place of Biblical humility, we can admit that in those times we were doubting God, we were not trusting in Him, and our doubt and lack of trust were directly connected to our lack of Biblical saving faith. That Truth might be a tough and ugly pill to swallow at times; but our actions and inactions are a direct indicator of our faith or lack of faith.
So, how are we as believers supposed to respond to the destruction of Hurricane Ian or to hard times? In today’s passage, James tells us that as believers we are to consider ourselves fortunate, or in other Biblical translations we are to consider it a sheer gift (GNT), consider it pure joy (NLT), or allow it to give us a reason to be very happy (ERV), because it will all be worth it in the long run (for eternity)!
Considering ourselves “fortunate” during a hard time might sound like a crazy idea. But James wants us to know that when we allow the Spirit of Christ, by our faith, to guide us during hard times that our faith succeeds (or grows) and as a result our ability to endure during hard times also grows. It is all about God seeking to grow us up in our faith, so that we trust in Him at all times, and ultimately, He can keep producing something worthwhile and eternal in each of us. The key to this happening is that we have to be fully willing to allow God to work within us.
James is not telling us to plaster on a fake smile in the midst of pain during a hard time. Remember, James was the younger son of Mary and Joseph, so he knows pain as he watched his own Brother be nailed to a cross and crucified. Rather, in today’s passage, James is guiding us towards praying to God in the midst of pain and calling out for His Godly wisdom. You and I need God’s wisdom to lead our faith in hard times. Otherwise, Satan will seek to weaken our faith with doubt. Doubt is not from God, and if you and I allow it within our souls (our minds, wills, and emotions) Satan will use it like Hurricane Ian to cause destruction of our faith. God’s wisdom within us stands against Satan and his tactics to destroy us and our faith…so we need to pray for God’s wisdom every single day!
James 1:2-8 (GNT)
Faith and Wisdom
2 My friends, consider yourselves fortunate when all kinds of trials come your way, 3 for you know that when your faith succeeds in facing such trials, the result is the ability to endure. 4 Make sure that your endurance carries you all the way without failing, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing. 5 But if any of you lack wisdom, you should pray to God, who will give it to you; because God gives generously and graciously to all. 6 But when you pray, you must believe and not doubt at all. Whoever doubts is like a wave in the sea that is driven and blown about by the wind. 7-8 If you are like that, unable to make up your mind and undecided in all you do, you must not think that you will receive anything from the Lord.
Prayer: Jesus, thank You for being the ultimate example of faith. Your faith never wavered on the cross, the most difficult of times, and so we call on that faith for our own lives. We seek Your wisdom, Lord, and we need Your help to cast out all doubt. Forgive us for our lack of faith and our lack of trust. Strengthen our faith, Jesus, by Your wisdom. We ask this in Your Holy Name, Jesus. Amen.