But when you ask [for wisdom], you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do.
- from James 1:6 & 8
Trials expose our foundations. They reveal what we’re really made of. And they challenge us.
Yesterday, we looked at a passage that promised that our generous God would provide wisdom to all who ask for it. He does this, James says, “without finding fault.”
But there is a condition placed on this prayer for wisdom: the asker must believe that God gives wisdom.
James has no patience for doubt when it comes to this particular facet of our relationship with God. Doubt that God gives wisdom and you will be incapable of finding intellectual grounding for your faith.
James isn’t making a comment here about all doubt. Healthy faith will certainly have seasons when the believer has to wrestle with healthy doses of doubt: “I believe. Help me overcome my unbelief” (Mk. 9:24). The problem isn’t whether someone is doubting; it’s what they’re doubting.
Trials expose our foundational beliefs about God’s character and relationship with us. People who ask God for wisdom but doubt God’s willingness/ability to give wisdom are setting themselves up for deep, internal struggles. How will they be able to trust anything they receive in answer to their prayers for wisdom?
During our trials, we need to maintain a firm conviction that God is willing and able to give us wisdom to navigate our difficult circumstances. This foundational conviction will keep us engaged with him and open us up to his formational work in our lives.
Take a few moments today to pray and believe that God wants to shape your character. Ask him to be at work in you today.