Have you ever felt like you were not fully prepared for a decision or a situation? I do not mean it was for lack of planning and that something just surprised you out of the blue. Rather, regardless of how you prepared or your experiences, you just did not think you were going to be able to address the situation well or make the best decision.
Throughout our lives, at work, in relationships, and in other circumstances, we face each of these types of situations and are forced to make decisions. All too often, we are unprepared. However, there is a solution, and it is found in our confident request to our Father.
“If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do.” (James 1:5-8)
I think we can all agree that wisdom is the ability to apply knowledge and experience to a situation, which results in good judgement and reliable action. So often, we are unable to bring these components together to produce such a result. There are many practical and logical reasons why we fail in this area. As Christ followers, we need to examine the reason that the Bible gives. It is because we do not ask God, or that we ask with a lack of faith, belief, and confidence in God’s ability to provide us with the wisdom that we need.
The offer is clear and available to anyone who lacks wisdom. That person should ask God with confidence and faith, and God will provide it generously; not based on our merit but on God’s gracious character. Trusting in this fact alone should produce stability in our requests.
Verse 5 identifies the source and availability of wisdom, but the rest of this passage addresses how one is to ask. Faith is a theme and lesson taught throughout Scripture, and the word or a version of it is used over 450 times. Jesus teaches that the power of faith can move mountains. The point here is that when we ask for wisdom, we are to do it with unwavering confidence and reliance on the power of God. Wisdom is not found in our own knowledge and understanding.
Proverbs 3:5 reminds us to “trust in the Lord with all our heart and don’t rely on our own understanding.” It is truly a matter of surrender. When we realize that we need wisdom and then completely submit to God to provide that wisdom, we must remain consistent in our faith in God and not our own abilities. This is difficult for many reasons, but as we remember that faith is the substance of things hoped for without the benefit of seeing evidence of its reality, we will maintain a strong foundation and grow in confidence and consistency.
What will it take for you to surrender to God’s character and grace today, requesting with confidence wisdom from God? We know that we all need it, and we understand now that God provides it. The results fall back on us to whole-heartedly trust in God and his nature. This kind of faith most certainly contributes to what it means to be mature, complete, and able to face any trials with pure joy.