James tells us that suffering can be a cause for joy rather than misery. Persevering through hardships can bring real maturity in our lives. If we see our trials as God’s personal work in our lives, we can surely become better people through them. Otherwise, trials and suffering in our lives will make us bitter. He wants us to realize that in life, we will all face hardships, but we don’t have to turn bitter on account of them. If we persevere in our faith that God loves us, even amidst our trials, and do not give in to bitterness, cynicism, and resentment, we’ll become much better people. But he also knows that this is not easy. It takes a trained mind to manage that. So, James tells us how to gain the right perspective in all of our trials. In James 1:5, he tells us, “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.”

 One of the most well-known quotes from the Bible is, “the fear of God is the beginning of wisdom.” I don’t think that quote involves a “shaking in our boots” kind of fear. It’s more the reverence required when we take God seriously. Taking God seriously involves a deep sense of faith and trust in his administering the affairs of my life. I’ve often said that faith does not just believe that God exists. James will tell us later in this epistle that even Satan believes that. It’s more like trust. It believes that God has my best interest foremost in mind regardless of the circumstances He has allowed to invade my life. This is holding onto my conviction of a good God who loves me and has my best interest foremost in mind, even when it hurts. This is not an easy task. Job is well aware of this struggle and wrestles profoundly with all the pains and hardships that he experiences. He lost all his loved ones and his own health but persevered, saying, “though He (God) sleys me, yet will I trust in him.” He also said, “the Lord gives, and the Lord takes away. Blessed be the name of the Lord.” He said, “naked I came into the world, and naked from it I will go.” But there are also 40 chapters of Job wrestling with the concept that God is good even though he suffers profoundly. I read a recent headline that said, “Highly religious people struggle the most with faith when they experience suffering, study finds.”[1]

It’s difficult, and we often need help! This verse lets us know that God is always ready and willing to help us with the “wisdom” necessary to accept His will for our lives with faith. Charles Stanley introduces his sermon on this passage in the book of James by saying, “One of the most common questions people ask is, “If God is a loving Father, why does He allow His children to go through painful and difficult trials?” God doesn’t promise to explain everything to us. However, if we keep a godly attitude and ask for wisdom in our circumstances, we can prevail over our difficulties, gain a sense of peace, and arrive on the other side with greater faith and stronger relationship with our Heavenly Father.”[2]

[1] MSN Edge News headline for March 23, 2023

[2] Wisdom For Life’s Trials (intouch.org)