Wednesday in the First Week of Ordinary Time

James 1:5

Seek Wisdom in Trials

James continues his sermon (for that is how it reads): “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.”  James makes this statement in the context of what he has just discussed—“trails of various kinds”—which in this case means persecution.  This is not what we would expect.  James has spoken of trials producing steadfastness.  The Apostle Paul adds endurance, character, and hope (Romans 5:3-4).  And in the midst of persecution, we generally desire to be delivered and ask for strength in the interim.

But James says that in the midst of persecution, we should ask for wisdom.  And why might this be?  Is it perhaps so that we might understand what God is doing with us through this trial in our lives?  So that we can look at it through the eyes of faith?  So that we might use this trial that it may have its perfect work in our lives?  I have heard politicians say that national calamities should never be wasted—and generally to some selfish and mercenary end.  But this should especially be true for the Christian who should never waste the opportunity that trials afford for growing closer to the Lord and, as James says, growing in wisdom.

We are told in several places in Proverbs that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom (9:10).  Trials drive us to the Lord when we might not have driven ourselves there on our own accord.  We learn that we cannot live this life without Him, that there are so many things in this life that we can do without, that the Kingdom is so much more important, that our priorities are often all wrong, and that God still judges sin and calls us to repentance in painful ways.  But wisdom also reminds us that this is the way God loves us—by pruning and chipping away from us the dross which we would not allow happier times to cut away.  Wisdom trusts God even in—especially in—hard times.

The Apostle Paul says, “For if anyone thinks he is something when he is nothing, he deceives himself” (Galatians 6:3).  Even the pagan Socrates knew that the beginning of wisdom was the confessing of one’s ignorance.  Let us not be more foolish than unbelievers.  Let us humble ourselves beneath God’s mighty hand and allow that there are many things we do not understand, and that trials and tribulations are one method whereby God teaches us many things.  Then we shall look upon them as the tests and opportunities for faith that they are.

Author: The Reformed Baptist

My name is Stephen Taylor, ordained Baptist minister of eighteen years pastoral experience with a Ph.D. in Historical Theology from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas. Better than that, I am married to a godly woman, Karla, who has been very patient with me since 1989. I have two daughters, both of whom I homeschooled for extended periods of time, who became godly young women, and who ran off and married godly young men, all of which is very proper. The oldest daughter has even seen fit to bless me with a grandson and a granddaughter, and my youngest daughter with a grandson, all three of whom are bundles of exceeding joy. As you can see, I am quite blessed. This website is dedicated to helping people grow in the wisdom and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ through the gift of writing that the Lord has given to me. It is specifically about helping His people grow in godliness, the theme you see repeated above. I write devotions with this aim and hope that they might be of some help to God’s people. Full disclosure: I am of a Reformed bent, meaning that my understanding of Scripture is primarily informed by the Reformers and their successors of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. However, as a student of church history and theology, I strive to remain true to that teaching handed down once for all unto the saints through every age of the Church. I like to think of myself as a “catholic” Christian, as the Reformers thought of themselves. At any rate, feel free to read, pray, and contact me if you wish, or correct me if need be. As you can see, I tend to follow the church year. Of course, I make no special claims about these devotions. I know very well that others have written better and plumbed the depths of God’s word with greater insight. But if my musings help someone draw closer to the Lord, well then, I have my reward. Blessings to you and may the God and Father of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ speak to you that word which He knows you especially need to hear. Grace & peace, Stephen Taylor

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