What To Do When You Don't Know What To Do

Day 5 of 7 • This day’s reading

Devotional

“God is Gracious, Even in Trials”

James says that God gives His wisdom without reproach. The word reproach means “to insult,” “to hurl an invective,” “to harm.” When we come to God for wisdom, He never scolds us for coming, no matter how often we approach Him.

Because God is good and generous and gracious, no seeker should approach Him with doubt. He can be trusted! But if we fail to trust Him, we should not expect Him to answer (remember James 1:6-8).

The word “faith” is found only twice in the Old Testament, but it is found sixteen times in the book of James alone. The book of Hebrews reminds us that “without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him” (11:6). If we approach God without faith, we have decided to live life our own way, to make our own decisions, to separate ourselves from Him. Then the cause of God not answering us belongs to us and not to Him.

James says that a person who prays doubting is like the sea that is blown and tossed about by the wind. To James, the constant churning of the water suggested the agitation of a doubter’s heart. Such persons are encouraged one moment, discouraged the next. Paul uses the same figure to portray immature believers. He speaks of them as “tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting” (Eph. 4:14).

The man of faith is a stable man looking in only one direction for the wisdom he needs. He knows that the God to whom he prays is able and willing to respond to his need. As Dorothy Sayers reminds us, God is able to help us in our trials because He Himself has chosen the way of suffering:
“He has Himself gone through the whole of human experience, from the trivial irritations of family life and the cramping restrictions of hard work and lack of money to the worse horrors of pain and humiliation, defeat, despair, and death. When He was a man, He played the man. He was born in poverty and died in disgrace and thought it well worthwhile.”