If you were asked what is the number one question enquired of God, how would you respond? Do you think the question ’why me Lord?’ might find its way to the top of most of our lists?
When we find ourselves ransacked by the trials of life, how would our Heavenly Father have us respond? Are we encouraged to simply adopt a ‘that’s the way life is’ attitude and go on about our way?
Are we allowed to petition God for answers as to why we are facing these trials? Are we allowed to ask, “Why me, Lord?”
According to James, we’re not only allowed, but encouraged to do so! In a very mis-used passage of Scripture, he basically had this to say.
“If you don’t understand why you are going through this trial… then ask God! He will generously give you the wisdom to understand why you’re enduring this (James 1:5).”
I claimed that this verse is often mis-used. The reason I say this is that the context of the first chapter of James’ letter is ‘what is the purpose of and how do believers deal with trials?’ In the midst of his conversation, he asks, “Do any of you lack wisdom?” He is simply asking are there any of you who don’t understand why you’re facing this trial. It’s not implied here that God doesn’t offer us wisdom in all areas, but in this case he is limiting his conversation to the trials of life.
You will notice that there are some restrictions involved for the believer to gain this understanding. He says we must ask in faith without doubt (6-8). The bottom line here is that the integrity of the Word of God is at stake! If we come to our Heavenly Father with childlike faith, we are promised understanding.
Does James mean to say that we can know every detail formed in the mind of God? Is his claim that we can fully know exactly what God is accomplishing with every trial and time of suffering we face?
We could refute that without even leaving the biblical stories. Think about it. How could Abraham know that people would be being blessed by him in a small rural town in America in the year 2012? I’m doubting God gave him a vision of Christopher Columbus sailing the seas! Yet he endured the trials of his life by believing God.
That is James’ message! He wanted those he was writing to who were experiencing much trial and tribulation to know that God had everything under control. He wanted them to grasp that everything was happening for a very good reason. He wanted them to have no doubt that God was saving the world through the work of His Son, and this most urgent work included the transformation of His people into the image of Jesus.
When we face trials, and we all will, we can walk through them with wisdom. Our Father’s wisdom ensures us that all things are happening in our best interest. It may not seem like it… but in time will prove to be that good and perfect will of God. His will that leaves us looking a little more like His Son with each passing trial.