Wisdom Amid Trials


“Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.” – James 1:2-8

God’s blessings are often paradoxical. They sometimes seem to be burdens and hardships instead of blessings. Such are the trials we often encounter.

Adversity is part of life. Trials will come to all of us. For the Christian, there is joy in such experiences. We usually don’t find joy in the trials themselves, but there is reason to rejoice in the encounter of trials. That’s because the experience of encountering trials is an opportunity to realize something of great and lasting value.

The joy is in seeing trials from God’s perspective, looking beyond the immediate unpleasantness of present circumstances to what he can accomplish for us. Meeting trials can bring us to a place of greater steadfastness or constancy, which is a mark of spiritual maturity. Without growing in steadfastness, we remain in a state of spiritual infancy. So, we should be thankful for experiences that lead us to trust God more, and that bring about the discipline needed for growth and completeness as Christians.

But one of the challenges in that growth process is having the wisdom we need. We often lack wisdom in facing trials. We may feel that we are in the dark. We need wisdom to understand. Why is this happening? What does it mean? Where is the good in it? Where is the benefit in such adversity? What is God’s purpose in allowing us to face these trials? What should be my attitude in these circumstances? What is the right thing to do in these trying times?

The answer to this challenge is always the same. Rather than praying for God to remove the trial, James says, ask him for wisdom to make proper use of it. If you lack wisdom, ask of God and he will provide. When we consider that God is a kindly and true giver who gives generously to all without reproaching us for our inadequacies, we should be encouraged all the more to go to him and ask.

Ask in faith, with full assurance that God wants to bring us to that place of steadfastness and constancy of faith. Ask in faith, trusting his promise and looking to his Word for direction and guidance. Ask in faith, and God will provide. We may not understand now, but if we ask in faith, God will grant us the wisdom to press on, until the time when we will be able to see the good that can come from these circumstances.

“Farther along, we’ll know all about it, farther along we’ll understand why; cheer up, my brother, live in the sunshine, we’ll understand it all by and by.”

Dan Petty