Trusting and Stable
When a country, or indeed the world, is rocked by financial, or social instability, the cause is always the same. People have stopped trusting each other. Banks cannot be confident that they will be paid back what has been borrowed, and are nervous about new loan requests, rival gangs fight and countries prepare for war. It is just as well that God does not think like that when we pray. But some people think that if they speak to God, asking for His help, they have got to promise to pay Him back; and if they do not match His expectations, then He will never help them again. On that basis, God would help nobody!
These verses are not about developing self-confidence. They follow on from a command to stop being proud and ask the Lord for wisdom (James 1:5) recognising our inability to handle life without Him. But how do we ask? In desperation, as a last resort or as a normal part of our relationship with Him (Matthew 7:7-8). Our faith is not imagining what we would like to happen. Faith is trusting that Father God knows what is best, and will tell us what we must do to cooperate with Him (Psalm 32:8).
When we pray, it is essential that we have confidence in God's desire and ability to answer us. A tight rope walker must concentrate by looking ahead to the end of the wire. If he looks around or behind him, he will certainly fall off. We can be unstable; by partly believing that the Lord has the answer, but at the same time, looking for other answers, because we do not trust Him fully. When that happens, we can be blown off track very easily. That is like Peter, who stepped out of the boat in faith walking towards Jesus, but he started sinking when he looked at the waves (Matthew 14:28-32). The lack of a single focus distracts many from the prize of His calling (Philippians 3:13-14).
God gives wisdom to people, who abandon their home-grown solution to problems they do not fully understand, and trust Him alone. But He will not give us the wisdom we need unless we believe that He will answer us well, and in time. Doubts may be there, but as we exercise faith we refuse to allow doubts to win, distracting us from our confidence in the Lord. At work today, remember that God knows your staff relationships, market fluctuations, profit margins, and performance targets much better than you do. Whatever the problem (health, relationships, persecution, career prospects or professional standards), God knows the answer and wants you to apply it so that He will be glorified, others will be blessed and you will have joy. So just stop for a moment, put away your pride (James 4:6), tell the Lord all about it and trust Him to show you what to do and the time to do it.
© Dr Paul Adams