2 My brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of any kind, consider it nothing but joy, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith produces endurance; 4 and let endurance have its full effect, so that you may be mature and complete, lacking in nothing. - James 1:2-4
This advice given to us by James, the brother of Jesus, makes a lot of sense. We learn in life. Our faith grows as we successfully face trials. I have heard it said that the difference between head knowledge and life knowledge is that life knowledge is head knowledge that passes through our hands. The information about our faith only becomes ours when we experience it to be true in life. So of course, the trials we face are opportunities to bring us to maturity in faith, lacking nothing.
Even though that makes a whole lot of sense, we are more often surprised when we come to times of trial. Instead of facing trials with joy so that our faith will be proven, we assume the fact that there is a trial is proof that faith does not work. “Shouldn’t God protect us from all of that?” we wonder instead. We find that we are all too easily swamped… that our hands seem to fumble with the opportunities to hold our faith in our trials.
That is why the next thing that James says is so important. He writes, “If any of you is lacking in wisdom, ask God, who gives to all generously and ungrudgingly, and it will be given you.” If any of you are fumbling with it, having a hard time applying it, questioning why you have to do it, or just downright not understanding, here is what you do: ask God for wisdom. Ask God to help us with this application process, this maturing process, this filling process, this understanding process, this going through trials of any kind to find ourselves complete, lacking in nothing.
If you are anything like me, you could use a prayer for wisdom. So whether that is within a specific situation you are facing or just a general need to ask God for help, let’s pray:
Jesus, we confess the ways we need help. We know that you have promised to give wisdom to us when we ask. So, we ask for wisdom in this moment. We ask for wisdom to see and understand and experience faith passing through our hands in life in the particular situations we are struggling with (here is a good place to name those). We also ask for wisdom for the rest of the trials we will face today.