There I was driving home from a friend’s house late one night. I had never been to their house before, nor was I familiar with the area. Traveling to their house was easy with daylight, landmarks that had been described, and of course the ever handy GPS on my phone. The trip there was nothing like the trip back home. It was dark, I had forgotten those landmarks that had been told to me, and the ever handy GPS was useless the second my phone died. When leaving, my friends wanted to make sure I could get home. The problem was my pride. When they asked, I told them that I could handle it. Now I was lost with no GPS and no phone. I found myself in the middle of a huge problem. I continued driving until the road ended. It came to a T intersection where there was no forward, only a left and right. One way would take me toward town, while the other would take me away from town. Today, our passage instructs us on what we should do when we come to an intersection in life. James begins the first chapter by urging us to count it a joy when trials come into our lives. He says the trials produce patience, and if we allow patience to have its perfect work, we in turn will be perfect lacking nothing. This is where we will pick up in The Word today.
If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind.
Since we all face problems in our lives, I find it so comforting that God gives us permission to ask Him for directions. Whether our problem is that we are physically lost, spiritually lost, or maybe just at a point of saying “now what,” God allows us to ask for wisdom. Our main problem is the same problem I had when my friend wanted to ensure I could get home… PRIDE!!! Men we probably know more about pride than the women do. The last thing we want to do is ask for directions. The truth is our stubbornness has a tendency to take us further away from where we are supposed to be going. It’s simple; just ask God. The reason we don’t ask for direction or wisdom in a situation is that we are afraid to look stupid, or we are afraid of annoying the person we are asking. I remember school teachers saying there are no stupid questions. While I may argue against that one day, we will go with this idea today. Stupid is not asking a question, but it is NOT asking the question. Failure to ask the question will cause us more work, more pain, and maybe even our demise. That would truly be the stupid thing to do, but we don’t want to be a disappointment. I imagine that there have been parents, teachers, coaches, or bosses at some point in our lives who have been disappointed in us, because when we asked a question, we had to ask a second or third time. We get yelled at, and we know they’re disappointed in us because we haven’t learned what they wanted us to yet. I promise you that God is not like that. When I read this passage, I actually needed to look up the word reproach to make sure I understood its full meaning. This is the Merriam Webster definition.
an expression of rebuke or disapproval
the act or action of reproaching or disapproving
a cause or occasion of blame, discredit, or disgrace
God said He would freely give wisdom, without reproach, to anyone who, in faith without doubting, asked Him for it. In closing, I also wanted to point out how important our faith is to receiving this wisdom. As James was writing, he began chapter one talking about how trials are the testing our faith. The passage we read today closes in discussing the fate of the people who would ask for wisdom without having faith. He says they will be tossed like the waves of the sea. In verse seven James wrote, “let not that man suppose that he would receive anything from the Lord.” So, we understand that faith does plays a large role in us receiveing the wisdom we need. Now let’s travel back to that T intersection. I had a decision, left or right. I prayed to God telling Him that there was no way for me to know where to go from here and that He would have to help me out of this problem that I had gotten myself into. Some may call it a lucky guess, others a gut feeling, still others perhaps an instinct of home, but I call it the Holy Spirit. I felt deep inside me, that I needed to go right. That road led me home. In the midst of your problem, ask God for direction, and He will lead you home, to where you are supposed to be.
God, I pray that we can be a generation that will not fall to our pride but will humble ourselves to ask for your direction. God, lead us, guide, us and provide for us. We pray this in the name of our Great Shepherd, Jesus Christ. Amen.