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I will often expend a lot of energy trying to figure out where my trouble is coming from. Did I create this trial myself? Has God orchestrated this to test me? Is this Evil trying to trip me up?

I don’t know why I think knowing the who behind my problem will make things any easier or get me through it any faster.

I can fritter away quality brainpower trying to nail down the source of a trial.

I’m not sure it matters. The New Testament doesn’t make it easy to decipher. Throughout the New Testament the same word is behind trials, testings, and temptations.

In James 1, for example, the trials mentioned in verse 2 and the temptation in verse 13, is the same word. The same word is in the Lord’s Prayer, “Lead us not into temptation.” Again, in 1 Peter 4:12, the same word is used, where it says, “Do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that is taking place among you to test you.”

So a case can’t be made for trials being what we do to ourselves, tests being something God does, and temptations finding there source in the Evil One. In the Bible they are all jumbled up. Anyhow, I don’t think pinning down the source makes getting through the trouble any easier.

You are not encouraged to seek the who of our troubles, but the what. What are you supposed to do when you face a trial?

The James passage referenced above offers instruction if you aren’t sure what to do. James 1:5 says, “If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.” Ask God for wisdom. What wise advise!

What is wisdom? Wisdom it is doing the right thing for that moment. It isn’t necessarily knowing the who, or even the why, behind a given situation. It’s about the what and the how.

Eugene Peterson wrote about wisdom that, “It has little to do with information or knowledge or even understanding. Wisdom is the art of living skillfully in whatever actual conditions we find ourselves.”

Wisdom is about what you should do when you’re going through a trial and how to do it.

I see 4 things about who God is in James 1:5 that are stabilizing truths when we face “trials of many kinds.”

  1. God dispenses the wisdom to get through any trial.
  2. God is generous.
  3. God never makes fun of anyone who asks for help.
  4. God always gives wisdom to people who ask.

Those 4 truths will keep us anchored through any storm. We don’t have to be blown and tossed by trouble, destabilizing our lives.

Can you imagine, after getting on the other side of your next trial, being more together than when you went into it? What would it be like for a community of people to weather the toughest of storms with wisdom and poise? What kind of witness would it be to those around us to see times of trouble making us stronger, not shakier? That’s the kind of skill in living that God is itching to give to us.

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