“I don’t know what to do.”
Those six words are familiar to me. I’d like to tell you it’s because of my position and because people seek me out for advice. While, that statement would have an element of truth, the deeper foundations are set on the bedrock of my own experience.
How many times have I struggled with the questions, “What should I do?” and “Why am I plagued with problems?”
In recent years, in those moments when I can slowly exhale and gather myself, I turn to one of my favorite biblical passages, the letter of James. The writer (probably the brother the of Jesus) takes on the important issue of true leadership . . . by thoroughly calling all of us to be servants. He begins by addressing our fears and our feelings of inadequacy.
Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.
Trials, tribulations, sorrows — all should be greeted with joy?!
But that seems stupid . . .until you focus on the reason.
Challenges must be faced. By so doing, we develop a spirit of perseverance. And perseverance — keeping on — allows us to grow and mature.
We all know that in times loaded with worry, grief, and pain everything becomes more difficult. Even thinking about the obstacles can leave us fatigued, frightened, and even angry.
I’ve often been embarrassed to go to others for help. Even asking for advice is difficult. I’m sure part of that is my pride and ego. Sometimes, however, it’s because I don’t want to hear someone else’s counsel. I don’t want to believe that there is an answer for me and to grapple with the next prescribed step.
Yet James promises that I can always ask God for wisdom and that He will always deliver it.
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. But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. Those who doubt should not think they will receive anything from the Lord; they are double-minded and unstable in all they do.
One caveat: I’m not allowed to doubt that God will send wisdom my way.
Doubt is uncertainty. If I allow two thoughts to struggle for my allegiance, I become . . . double-minded. I must place my trust in God. If I ask him for wisdom, I should expect for it to come. And ultimately, I must act on the wisdom He provides. Doing anything else interferes with the promise.
God wants single-minded servants. And single-minded servants make the best followers and the best leaders.
Today’s New International Version, Holy Bible, James 1:2-8.
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