August 30, 2017
(All Scripture is from the New King James Version unless otherwise indicated)
Now we get to the heart of the matter: Should I be questioning God – asking God “Why? ” – when hard trials enter my life? Here is what it says in James 1:2 through 5:
My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing
that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have
its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.
If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally
and without reproach, and it will be given to him.
We saw that the early New Testament believers were under persecution from the Jewish leaders, and probably experiencing drought and famine. We also learned from James in verses 2 through 4 of our featured Scripture that through allowing trials to touch our lives, the Lord is maturing us to be more and more like Jesus! But trials are tough! So should we ask God why such struggles are present?
This is where verse 5 comes in: “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him.” But this is not to be separated from the three verses before!
First, let’s define knowledge and wisdom:
• Knowledge is knowing the facts! But just knowing the facts does not mean you will be wise. Some people have a lot of ‘head-knowledge’, but are said to “…have no common sense! ”
• Wisdom, on the other hand, is knowing how to apply the facts of knowledge properly to life! In relation to trials – it is understanding the situation you are currently experiencing and how it applies to your life!
So, if you lack wisdom – that is, the understanding of what is going on in your life through the trials you are facing – let him ask of God ! “Why, God? Why is this happening to me? What are You trying to teach me through it? ” According to Romans 8:28, “…we know that all things work together for good to those who love God….” And Philippians 1:6 says that the Lord “…has begun a good work in you, [and] will complete it [continue it] until the day of Jesus Christ [His return]….” But what is the goal of this good work God has begun and will continue? The answer is in Romans 8:29: “…whom He foreknew, He also predestinated to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren.” (See II Corinthians 5:21; Colossians 3:10). It can be a painful process to take the likes of us and conform us to the image of His Son, Jesus Christ! Why? Because we have a lot of rough edges in our lives that have to be ‘ground off ’! That’s very often done through tests and trials – and that can hurt!
Here are just a couple of examples of specific reasons why someone might experience a trial (taken from my own life):
• In the first ten years of our marriage, Hope and I were in financial difficulties! During the winter of 1976-77 – having left my first pastorate for a business opportunity in fund-raising sales – we were so financially strapped that at times we didn’t know from where the next meal would come! But God always provided – and more than once by miracles! What was the purpose of this financial test? We learned the truth of Matthew 6:31 through 34:
Therefore do not worry, saying, “What shall we eat?” or “What shall
we drink?” or “What shall we wear?” For after all these things the
Gentiles [unbelievers, in this case] seek. For your heavenly Father
knows that you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom of
God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.
Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about
its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.
Hope and I have learned to rely on what Paul wrote in Philippians 4:19: “…my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.”
• In struggling with my very addictive nature (alcohol, drugs, food, pornography, etc.), I often wondered “Why do I struggle so much? What is missing in my life that others possess who have found victory? ” But the more I struggled over the years, the more I desired victory – to find out what was missing! Then I discovered II Peter 1:3 and 4:
…His divine power has given us all things that pertain to life and godli-
ness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue,
by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises,
that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having
escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.
I already had it – I already have it – all! What I needed to do for victory was comprehend and apprehend what God had already given me! In learning this, I have victory over all the things that used to control me! Now, I understand the struggles of others, and teach them also to have victory.
But there is a caveat here! We need to hear what is written in James 1:6 through 8:
But let him ask in faith, with no doubt, for he who doubts is like the
wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. For let not that man
suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-
minded man, unstable in all his ways.
Yes, when we don’t understand the purposes for which He is allowing us to undergo testings and trials, God encourages us to ask “Why? ” He will give us the answers to understand what we are going through, and how to apply the lessons we are to learn properly to our lives! However, as it says in Luke 11:9 (International Standard Version): even if we “Keep asking… Keep searching…Keep knocking…,” don’t give up! God will answer your “Why? ” in His own good time! But He will answer!
I hope this helps you in the midst of any trial or testing you may be experiencing.