Ask the God Who Gives for What You Lack! (James 1:4-5)
And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. 5 If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. —James 1:4-5
What are you asking God for?
In August of 2015, our youngest daughter was diagnosed with Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis (JIA). She will live with this disease for the rest of her life. Of course, we’ve been asking God to heal her, but we’ve also learned at times simply to ask God for just one pain-free day. Some days are really hard. What do you say to a 13 year old who says, “I just want to be like the other kids; I just want to be able to run and play without getting tired so fast and always being in pain.”
When life is hard, and our faith is weak, and we are lacking what we need to persevere in faith, James reminds us to ask God for wisdom (1:5).
Wisdom is what we need.
In the words of Douglas Moo, divine wisdom “involves biblical insight into God’s purposes and ways.” When we have a biblical perspective of God’s character and purposes so that we understand how He works in this world and in our lives, we will be better able to respond to suffering in faithful and faith-filled ways. That is why James urges us to ask for wisdom—because it is precisely what we need to face the trials and temptations in this life.
Ask God for what you lack!
But sometimes we lack this necessary wisdom to face trials and persevere faithfully. These are the times when our suffering is so overwhelming that we are tempted to question whether God is either sovereign or good.
The good news is that if we lack the wisdom needed to face trials with faith and steadfastness, we can ask God. We should ask God. We must ask God.
In the very first chapter of his letter James reminds us that the God we are to ask is not only sovereign, He is also faithful. He does not tempt us to sin; He is good. He doesn’t make fun of us when we ask for wisdom; He is the God who gives generously (1:5). Our good and sovereign God will grant to us the very thing we are lacking, the very thing we need to face suffering well. So, let us ask God for wisdom, believing that He is sovereign, faithful, and good, and that God uses our suffering to make us look more like Jesus (1:4). Do you believe? Ask Him! He is a generous God who delights in giving good gifts to His children in order that we may patiently and faithfully endure to the end.
What are you asking God for? Have you asked others to join you in praying for these concerns? How are you responding when you feel you lack what you need to endure patiently when life is hard?
Is your life marked more by righteousness or unrighteousness, purity or impurity, selfish ambition or gentleness, chaos or peace, vile practices or good fruits (3:14-17)? What does that reveal about the wisdom you are pursuing?
What do you do when your trials are so overwhelming that your faith falters?
How will meditating on James 1:4-5 change what you are asking God for?