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'If any of you lacks wisdom...'

If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you (James 1:5).

James 1:5 is linked to James 1:4. In verse 4 James told us that in the future we will lack nothing. But in verse 5 James tells us that in the present we still lack something. We still lack wisdom. And J. I. Packer in the Christian classic Knowing God suggests that most of us get it wrong when we think about wisdom...

Imagine you're at a train station and you're standing at one end of the platform. You watch a constant stream of trains coming and going. You have a rough idea of what is happening at the station. On the other hand, if you're invited into the signal box you can see it all. There's a screen that shows you where every train is, what every train is doing, and why. And the mistake that most Christians make is to think that wisdom is God inviting us into the signal box. To think that wisdom is seeing everything, everywhere. But that's not Bible wisdom. We will never know the beginning from the end. Wisdom is much more like driving. And what matters most when you're driving isn't why the road gets narrow or why there's a blind bend up ahead. What matters most when you're driving is what to do when the road gets narrow or what to do when there's a blind bend up ahead (hint: you slow down!) And in a similar way wisdom isn't so much about understanding why but much more about understanding what. And when facing trials of many kinds we are often asking the question: what should we do, Lord? And when we don't know what to do James encourages us to ask God, who gives generously, for wisdom.


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