“If any of you is lacking wisdom, ask God who gives to all generously and ungrudgingly, and it will be given to you” (James 1:5).
When you last begged God for something, what was it? Wisdom? Or something a little more physical, and earthly?
Solomon prayed for wisdom to govern God’s people. One suspects that his request was something of a surprise to the Lord. God, who had dealt with several materialistically-minded people before seems to have expected Solomon to ask for “long life, or riches or the life of [his] enemies” (1 Kings 3:9-11). For the Lord, it must have been a refreshing change!
Now wisdom should be distinguished from a mere accumulation of facts. Education and book learning has its value, but these are not synonymous with wisdom. You might be a rocket scientist and not attain Biblical wisdom.
But James speaks of a particular kind of wisdom. He writes of wisdom in the context of trials and difficulties. In the three verses previous to these words on wisdom, he urges his readers to “consider it pure joy when you face trials of many kinds.” In just a few more verses (verse 12), he will declare, “Blessed is the man who endures trials.”
In a word, James is saying that when in times of trial, duress and suffering, if we cannot see the benefit or the meaning in it, ask God for the wisdom to see it! This particular kind of wisdom will help us to learn the lesson of suffering. Trials do not have to be senseless wallops that send us reeling. They can be the occasion for learning, growing and maturing.
You don’t see that? Then ask God for the wisdom to see it!
You might be a rocket scientist, and not attain Biblical wisdom.