Trials in and of themselves from a ‘this world’ perspective are a pain, as I said last week, nobody likes them, nobody deliberately puts them in their events diary, they happen, whether we like it or not.
It’s what we do with them that makes the difference, some will retreat and hope they go away, others will try and mask them (drink, drugs, excessive eating, activity, noise…) others try and find a short cut – neither way deals with them.
We have to face them head on and go through them, and for that we need the wisdom of God. When James moves from trials to wisdom in the space of a two or three verses he’s not finished with the subject, he’s turning them to the answer, to the key ingredient.
You see trials take us beyond ourselves, our strength, our resources, our understanding, and in doing so we can be forced into living according to the flesh – believing and behaving in the wrong way, which is exactly what was happening to those James was writing to. They not only impact us negatively but also those around as we outwork our frustrations.
To go through the trial we need the wisdom of God to think rightly about them and behave correctly in them, and James says it’s there for the asking – have you asked him, or have you presumed on his giving it – He wants you to ask and to do it without any doubt that he will answer. It won’t necessarily be in telling you what to do, but releasing wisdom – insight/understanding – so that you can make the decision.
Important to all this is settledness on the will of God – James 1:6 says “But when you ask him, be sure that your faith is in God alone…” (NLT). If you’re not settled there you will not get the wisdom you require because as he says your loyalty is divided between God and this world – or your own agendas.
The last thing to note is that our God is generous in his giving and he doesn’t get all tetchy and hold grudges because you’ve not come before, or messed up the last time. No his throne is a throne of grace and he loves his children to come near and ask and he gives and gives again.
When it come to trials it’s not getting an answer to the why that’s important, it’s getting hold of the wisdom of God.