Have you ever prayed James 1:5? I cannot count the number of times that I have prayed that prayer. If I’ve prayed with you, you have probably heard me pray that verse out loud for you or for me or for both of us. Why do I pray it so fervently? Because I have lived it so often.
Even though I have prayed it often, it was not until recently that I connected verse 5 to verses two through four, “2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. 4 Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” James 1:5 will never be the same for me again.
I remember praying this prayer a little over a year ago. My daughter and her family were pursuing buying their first house in Texas. Per our normal Aunternet participation (if you want to know what the Aunternet is, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org), we were interceding for God to open the doors and remove obstacles so they could close on their first home. I was discussing this with my sister Penny, who lives in California. Penny told me she was not praying for the house to close but for God’s will to be done. My heart leaped within me. See, my heart’s secret desire was for them to move to Tennessee but I felt like I had to keep it to myself. Her brief comments gave me permission to pray for God’s wisdom and trust Him with the results. I’m so glad I did because we have enjoyed having Chase, Krista and Emma here in Tennessee for one year this month. God’s wisdom way trumped my puny ideas.
Why was wisdom required?
Because it was unclear what would be best for their family. They had just lived James 1:2-4, “…when you face trials of many kinds…” over the previous year. They had relocated from Austin where they had many networked friendships to Dallas—a new location with limited support—when their daughter, Emma was born at 25 weeks 4 days. Emma spent 105 days in the NICU, came home on oxygen and had many specialist appointments and therapy visits in her first year of life all while Chase and Krista held down full-time jobs. I guarantee it took a lot of perseverance to navigate this season of life.
Join me in a conversation about James 1:2-5. Count it all joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds…who me? Yes, you.
…because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. (That is if you have gone all the way through and persevered, you will know that the testing produces perseverance.) Verse 4 begins with a little BIG word, let—little because it is short, big because it requires big action on my part—perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. Really, you mean if I will persevere—persist, don’t quit right before the breakthrough, keep on keeping on—perseverance can FINISH its work in me and help me grow up? So, does that mean if I don’t persevere I will hinder my maturing process? What do you think?
The chapter doesn’t stop there, it continues with good advice on how to actually “let” this process proceed. Enter verse 5, “If anyone lacks wisdom, you should ask God who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.”
As I am writing this blog, I recognize that before I connected these verses God was already guiding. I saw them lived out before my eyes:
- Chase, Krista and Emma faced an insurmountable trial. Emma was born as a micro preemie – beating statistic after statistic.
- Should the Williamson’s stay in Texas or make their move to Tennessee?
- Whatever decision was made it would mean two years minimum before any future relocations were considered. Either location had it’s pros and cons.
- Prayer for wisdom and direction
- Decision was made to move to Tennessee (me, doing the happy dance).
- BONUS – Krista’s best friend from College moved to Nashville area same day as Chase and Krista.
- I get to have them close (I may be the biggest winner of all.)
Are you facing “trials of many kinds”, feeling overwhelmed? Don’t know what to do next. Persevere, persist, don’t give up. Statistics are high for those who quit right before their breakthrough—don’t be that person. Ask for wisdom and hold on tight until it comes.
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