Does it ever seem like all I write about is difficulty? I suppose that’s not entirely true, but it is quite common. Of course, this is because so many of us are in difficulty. I don’t want to pretend that I have all the answers to those difficulties, but I do want to shed light on the way ahead.
I often have people ask me my opinions on many different happenings in the world. I’m not sure they really want my opinion, but rather an agreement with where they stand on whatever topic it is. I have decided with most of these issues, I don’t want to be distracted from my central focus of proclaiming rest and abiding in Jesus. My prayer, though, in many places of life is that I need wisdom. I used to want to be like Solomon, where I ask for wisdom and also get riches and power! What a deal! But now, more often than not, I ask for wisdom because I just need a way ahead. I am not smart enough to know what to do. I don’t have a plan for dealing with anything—recessions, world chaos, rejection, health issues. I need wisdom, and I need it for each moment as I take a step.
I have been reading the verses below in James quite a lot recently, and love the simplicity of what he says. First, when it seems like you are facing nothing but difficulty, it’s an opportunity! What?! It’s not an opportunity for you to pretend everything is great, but to see from the position that God has given you to see joy and His power at work in you to produce endurance and perfection. That doesn’t mean you have to try harder to gain these things. His Life is already within you and releasing it. Difficulty just clears the way. When we are in circumstances that are trying and testing, we get rid of a lot of excess simply because we can’t deal with it right then. We clear the way for what is real, for what will last. So, if you are in difficulty, let the extra stuff go and walk moment-by-moment with Jesus, waiting for His completion of His good work in you. He will do it!
The other thing that struck me was that if we want to be wise, we should ask God! How simple is that? He doesn’t say read a bunch of books, go to a really excellent school and try really hard. Just ask. We forget quite often that we have the Wisdom of the Ages present in us right now. You need wisdom? Ask!
He goes on the say that God won’t take that asking as an opportunity to condemn us on our lack or scold us over our failures. He will, instead, overwhelm our failures with His generous grace. How great is that? Bring your failures to Him, and He will provide generous grace that washes them away and replaces them with His wisdom.
I don’t know about you, but I need this constantly. I need to ask for wisdom about all sorts of things, from parenting to marriage to discipleship to cleaning my house. I think that’s the way He wants it, too. He wants us in close connection and dependence on Him so that He can spoil us with His generous grace for each situation. It may not be the way you wanted Him to provide in the situation, but I believe He always provides.
So, whatever place you find yourself in today, let the difficulty clear the way for dependence and sweet closeness with Jesus. And if you need wisdom, ask Him. He is eager and waiting for the opportunity to lavish generous grace all over you.
My fellow believers, when it seems as though you are facing nothing but difficulties, see it as an invaluable opportunity to experience the greatest joy that you can! For you know that when your faith is tested it stirs up in you the power of endurance. And then as your endurance grows even stronger, it will release perfection into every part of your being until there is nothing missing and nothing lacking. And if anyone longs to be wise, ask God for wisdom and he will give it! He won’t see your lack of wisdom as an opportunity to scold you over your failures but he will overwhelm your failures with his generous grace. James 1:2-5
Re-published with the permission of Hannah Morrell at Borken & Hopeful, a ministry created for those who feel broken to fin hope in Jesus.