Tuesday, November 25, 2008



According to James in his early writings there are three ways to handle your troubles. The first way is to refocus by rejoicing in the product God is working in you. God is using your trouble to purify you and make you stronger-refocusing on the end result rather than the problem itself is what's required here.

The second way to handle your troubles again involves refocusing. This time it is to refocus away from your problems and request the wisdom of God necessary to get you through this difficult time.

James says (James 1:5-8): If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God. There it is! He has just made it clear that if you encounter various trials and troubles with an attitude of joy, knowing that the testing of your faith will produce perseverance. And if you do this and allow your faith to be tested and purified by your troubles, then you will be lacking in nothing. However, if there is a lacking in your life, it will be a lack of wisdom. When you encounter various trials and troubles, the most common thing you lack at that time is the wisdom to know how to respond and what to do. You need the wisdom to know how to handle your trouble! So, go to the author of wisdom. Go straight to God and ask Him for wisdom. You are requesting His perspective on your problems from His vantage point, so that you are not limited to your own point of view, which is limited.

Next James says that God will answer your request by giving you the wisdom you are asking for. He says: If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. Note God will give you the wisdom you need to handle your troubles and He will give it to you in a generous way. He will give you even more than you need to process the problems you are facing. And, He will give this wisdom to all who ask for it. This is one of the few times I've ever seen where God lets it be known specifically how He will answer your request. In the case of a wisdom request, you will get it.

James then offers an interesting condition: But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. Those who doubt should not think they will receive anything from the Lord; they are double-minded and unstable in all they do.

The condition is that you must believe and not doubt, when you ask for this wisdom from God. When you ask, count on it; God will liberally give His wisdom to you! But if you doubt that He will do this for you, you can count on NOT receiving His wisdom. The result will then be that you will find yourself operating in a storm of instability and uncertainty. So, you can ask for wisdom and count on it, then you will receive it and by receiving it, you will have God's wisdom and actually have God on your side as you make your way through your troubles. Or, you can ask for wisdom and doubt you will receive it, then you will be left to make your way through your troubles all by yourself. In other words, if you ask for wisdom while doubting you'll get it, then you don't have a prayer to get through your trials and troubles.

There is an underlying promise for this principle. This one I call the promise of great escapes. It says: No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it. (I Corinthians 10:13)

This is an encouraging promise for us. There is no trial or trouble that you can encounter that has only happened to you. You know how it is when you are in the midst of a pile of trouble. Your most common thought is that you are the only one who has ever had to deal with such problems. This promise begins with making it clear that you are not alone in your problem. Others have already or are now going through the same thing.

Then it says that God will be faithful in not allowing any problem to overwhelm you to the point that you will be overcome by it. God will not allow you to face anything that you cannot get through. God will provide the way for you to escape it.

Now, note how you escape this trouble. God provides a way to escape it in such a way that you will be able to endure it-to go through it. This is not a supernatural bailout! He promises to get you through it! This is usually not what we pray for. We usually want to get out of the problem altogether. But God's promise is to give you a way of escape in order to get through it. The image here is like facing a mountain range. That mountain range is the problem or trial you are facing. God provides a mountain pass to get through it. This is why you are to ask for God's wisdom, so that you will be able to discover the mountain pass to get through it, no matter how tough or impossible it seems.

This second way James offers for us to handle our troubles is vital. Ask for God's wisdom to get through whatever you are facing and He will give you what you need. For years I've expressed this principle in a very simple way that has been helpful to so many. Take it for yourself. THE BEST WAY OUT IS THROUGH and God is committed to getting you through it. Just ask Him!