Exploring the Book of Ya’aqov, Pt. 2
And if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask from God—who is giving to all, generously and not denouncing—and it will be given to him; and let him ask in faith, doubting nothing. For he who is doubting has been like a wave of the sea, driven by wind and tossed about. For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Master—a two-minded man is unstable in all his ways.
(יַעֲקֹב Ya’aqov 1:5-8, mjlt)
When we find ourselves facing difficult and trying times, it’s easy to lose our heads. The brain shuts off, the fear ramps up, and calm, rational decision-making is replaced by emotional, knee-jerk reactions to people and circumstances. Without even realizing it, we are consumed with every negative thought and event, oblivious to the storm inside our minds that we ourselves created through our own poor choices and wrong actions. Not only are we unable to find a way out, but we are past the point of remembering even to look for one. We’re stranded, lost, and hopeless—caught inside our own instability.
So when times of testing come unexpectedly barrelling upon us, the better course would be to immediately admit our own shortcoming—and, yes, the overwhelming tendency toward total stupidity—and instead, ask God to give us wisdom. “And if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask from God—who is giving to all, generously and not denouncing—and it will be given to him.” Wisdom for good decision making; wisdom for how to constructively persevere through hard times; wisdom for allowing the teaching hand of God to lead us into maturity. All this wisdom and more is available to us if we will simply remember to ask. God will not “denounce” us, finding us to be weak and incompetent. Not at all. Rather, when we admit our “lack,” He responds with generosity, providing all the wisdom we need to meet the troubles we will encounter.
The key to successful receipt of this outpouring of wisdom, however, is to “ask in faith, doubting nothing. For he who is doubting has been like a wave of the sea, driven by wind and tossed about.” Without the faith that God has enough of His wisdom to dole out to us, we revert to our default setting of being “driven by wind and tossed about” by every emotion and circumstance that slams against our bow. Instead, we should be “doubting nothing”—beginning with God’s ability to provide for us unending wisdom.
We must not doubt that the wisdom of God is enough to guide us through choppy waters. We must not doubt that, through Yeshua, we can persevere and endure the storm. We must not doubt that we will lack nothing we truly need as long as we place our trust in God’s generous willingness to save.
When we doubt that God will answer us when we ask, we cut ourselves off from securing the strengthening we need. It can be quite the wild ride at first. On the one hand, life is throwing as much at us as it can, causing us to be swiftly overwhelmed and filled with doubt. On the other hand, if we are not quick to push aside that doubt and look to Yeshua, so as to receive strengthening from the Father, the doubt will overtake us, and we will be easily swept away. Indeed, for the one who doubts, “let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Master.” If we trust more in our own abilities than in God’s, we block anything and everything that God has ever wanted to give us. Then, when we—being consumed with doubt—try later to ask for help, He cannot give it, and we are left on our own. We have defeated ourselves.
“A two-minded man is unstable in all his ways.” God does not want us eternally torn between two minds: ours and His. If we are constantly trying to balance how much we can take on ourselves with how much help we need to ask of God, we will be hopelessly “unstable in all [our] ways.” When difficult times arise, there is no better first thought than to accept that it’s all out of your hands, and then to ask God for all wisdom, “doubting nothing.” We only hurt ourselves when we make it difficult for God to give us what we need; indeed, we will only find stability when we stop depending on ourselves.
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