Wise Living in Troubled Times

How many times have you faced a crisis situation, or found yourself surrounded by one trouble after another, and your most prominent question has been: “What should I do?”  We are never more in need of divine guidance than when we are faced with difficult circumstances in life.  Sure, life is filled with decisions and choices that must be made and we want to make them all wisely, but the potential for making bad choices or reacting in an unhealthy way increases exponentially when faced with troubles.

That’s the point that James will be making in our study this Sunday as we read James 1:5-8.  How to judge correctly and follow the best course of action when faced with troubles.

As you read these few verses, it is very straightforward counsel that Jim gives. It starts with admitting our lack of wisdom. Why do you think this is so difficult for us as humans?

Once we admit we are powerless, we are encouraged to ask for wisdom…from whom?  What sort of picture does the text paint of God here? Do you shrink in fear from this description, or feel emboldened to approach? Why?

Based on the description you read – when James says “ask in faith, don’t think you’ll receive anything if you doubt.” – do you feel any tension between his encouragement to ask and this warning? I had always been taught that this passage meant that if I didn’t have enough, or the right kind of faith, God had no interest in helping me.  Faith is the magic you use to entice God to respond…without it, he doesn’t care. At least that’s how I had come to imagine it.  Yet as I read this passage, I realize something. This is not about God’s willingness, this is about our ability to  receive the help that God is offering. If I ask you to write me an email, but I never check my inbox to see if you have….what does that say about me and my request?

Maybe what Jim is asking us to do is open our eyes when we pray…look around for the answer God has given and stop second guessing him and ourselves? Have a little trust that he loves us and he wants to help.

It’s stuff to ponder to be sure.  Hope to see you this Sunday!  We’ll be observing communion during the worship time, so don’t be late!

One response to “Wise Living in Troubled Times”

  1. I like the version in The Jerusalem Bible: 8th v. That sort of person, in two minds, wavering between going different ways, must not expect that the Lord will give him anything.

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