Turning a Trial into Triumph- Part 4 (Our Reliance)April 6, 2017
Trials create a deep and profound need for wisdom. Whatever adverse circumstance you face, there is, more than likely, a desire for answers, a need for direction, a longing for resolution. Have you ever met someone going through a difficult season only to say things like, “I just don’t know what I am going to do” or “I need some answers?” Such perplexity is not foreign to adversity. Mel Lawrenz said, “No day should pass without asking God for wisdom. To look for wisdom only sometimes is to risk foolishness most times.” To “risk foolishness” by not seeking wisdom during tumultuous times is perhaps the most foolish thing of all. The truth is, the wisest thing you can ever do is ask God for wisdom.
James said, “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed” (James 1:5-6).
Are You Lacking?
Do any of you “lack wisdom?” You should go ahead and raise your hand. To assert anything different is to claim deity. No one has reached a point in their life when they do not need assistance from the Lord. It is during fiery trials that this truth is accentuated perhaps more than any other time. If you are like most of the self-supporting people I know, it can be difficult to admit that we need help though. We like to have all the answers. We like to know what to do. We like to be in control. But then, suddenly, out of nowhere, God throws a proverbial curveball and we are left swinging at everything, hitting nothing.
This is the nature of a trial; it unveils our inadequacies, strips us of self-sufficiency and radically highlights our “humanness.” Trials are sovereignly designed to show us that we need something and Someone beyond our own resources, strength, and intellect. Trials have an audacious way of reminding us that we are finite, limited, frail beings in need of an infinite, unlimited, all-powerful God.
To this reality, there is some great news…
The Difference between Wisdom and Knowledge
If you are lacking wisdom, I would like to remind you of one thing: God is not! The great consolation in this truth is that we can freely ask God; He gives wisdom to all people who genuinely long for it. Now, it may be true, you can have knowledge, but that knowledge does you no good unless it is coupled with divine understanding. Someone anonymously wrote, “Knowledge and wisdom, far from being one, have oftentimes no connection. Knowledge dwells in heads replete with the thoughts of other men: wisdom in minds attentive to their own. Knowledge is proud that he has learned so much, Wisdom is humble, that he knows no more.”
Knowledge is the accumulation of facts, statistics, and information; while wisdom, on the other hand, is the ability to take that information and filter it through the will of God with a heavenly discernment. Too often we are only wise after the fact. Theodore Roosevelt said it like this, “Wisdom is nine-tenths a matter of being wise in time; most of us are wise after the event is over.” Therefore, we need wisdom from God. He directs, leads, and guides us in real time and space during the midst of the trial, not just afterward it is over.
God provides answers we do not know to problems we cannot solve with resources we do not have! Such an accomplishment necessitates wisdom from above, not just knowledge from without.
Find it through Faith
All this hinges upon faith. James said, “But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed.” Why does it require faith to ask for wisdom? Well, you cannot disassociate what is going in your trial from what is going on in your faith. When it gets down to it, the question becomes do you trust God? Are you relying on Him to provide the answers?
Consider this closing illustration. The children of Israel traveled the wilderness for forty years. How did they know what to do and where to go? Answer: The presence of God was a cloud by day and a fire by night. They simply followed Him, by faith. When the cloud moved, they moved. When the fire stopped, they stopped. Such an operation required no extraordinary knowledge, vision, or skills on their part. They simply relied upon the wisdom of God to direct their steps. They didn’t always know or see where they were going, but they didn’t have to…their Captain through His divine wisdom was leading them.
William Gladstone said, “He is a wise man who wastes no energy on pursuits for which he is not fitted; and he is wiser still who from among the things he can do well, chooses and resolutely follows the best.” Following God, pursing His wisdom, and living by faith is always the best route for any and everyone who encounters trials.