One of the realities that Followers of Christ must confront is the reality that our faith doesn’t deliver us from these struggles, and at times we could say that our faith increases the difficult of life. In other words Jesus is not the answer or the key to living a problem and hassle free life. If that is what we expected when we put our faith in Christ Jesus then we will end up being disappointed.
That doesn’t mean that our hardships have no value. One of the great promises of the Bible is that God is able to use the bad in this world for our good (Romans 8:28) and therefore we have no reason to despair when life begins to crumble around us. We need to trust that the One who began to transform our lives will bring this work to completion (Philippians 1:6). In order to have that type of trust that hopes in the midst of despair we need to remember what God has done for us in the past.
We also need to remember what God is doing in our lives. Our heavenly Father wants to restore our hearts, souls, and lives to what He intended them to be. In other words He wants to re-create us into people fit for Heaven. Part of this process of re-creation requires the furnace of trials. This is what James wrote concerning these trials; Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing (James 1:2-4; ESV).
We are to find joy in the suffering because we know that God is using these trials for our good. He is purifying our hearts by showing us that we cannot make it through life on our own, that we need to rely and trust Him for our life and our guidance. God wants us to become perfect and complete, mature men and women who are able to serve Him in His Kingdom. We can’t become servants until we lay aside our rights and surrender to authority of Christ Jesus.
Let’s face it, this isn’t easy to do. We can know the doctrine and understand that through the trials of life God is growing us, but in the midst of the pain and struggle we still shake our fist towards Heaven and shout, “Why God are You doing this to me!?” That is why James didn’t finish his teaching with verse 4, because there is something that we need if God is to truly to redeem the hardships and pain of our lives. That certain something is wisdom. James goes on to write; If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him (James 1:5; ESV).
Wisdom is the essential component we need to grow into the people God created us to be. The problem is that wisdom isn’t available at school or even from life experience and so we can’t get wisdom on our own and by our own efforts. Wisdom comes from God. We find wisdom in the Bible, but often we don’t understand it for what it is, and so we need to be taught the wisdom that we find on the pages of Scripture.
How does that happen? It happens through humility. We have to get to the point in our lives when we realize that we don’t have what it takes to get through life, let alone to become mature in the process, so that we will turn to God for help. Humility will drive us to our knees so we will cry out to God for wisdom, and the promise is that God will give us the wisdom that we need.
Without wisdom we will discover the trials of life serve little value, and thus we will declare that life is meaningless and look for ways to numb ourselves from the pain that we experience. Wisdom not only helps us see how God is working in our lives, but it also opens our eyes to what God is doing all around us, which will give us peace and joy in the crazy messed up world that we live in.
We are not going to escape the troubles of life, but with God’s wisdom we will be able to make the most out of the trials we do experience. God’s wisdom is essential for us to become truly human, the people God created us to be.