Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters,[a] 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. 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. That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do.
At Criccieth Family Church we come, this morning to the beginning of a Week of Prayer and the words that James writes, breathed by God, speak powerfully to our situation as we pray individually and together.
His words are written against the background of ‘trials of many kinds’ and that surely resonates with our situation, Pastorless for two years, almost to the day and severely restricted in in our ability to meet as a corporate body for 18 months as a result of Covid, not to mention many other things at a personal and national level.
It has been a testing time, but our faith in our God and Father and in the Lord Jesus Christ, should have caused us to persevere and perseverance is an ongoing experience leading us to be mature and complete, not lacking anything. Is that how you find yourself this morning?
If it is, praise God and thank him for his goodness to you and let that be what drives you to prayer this week for as you reflect on his faithfulness and goodness it will be a great encouragement to persevere.
If that is not your experience this morning, and our individual personalities mean that we all respond differently to situations, then the challenge and encouragement is to ask of God who gives generously to all without finding fault. But this challenge is not just for those who still burdened by past and present trials but for all!
We all need heavenly wisdom so this week we need to pray believing that God will hear and answer. “Ah but my faith is not that strong”, you may say. James however puts it very strongly ‘when you ask you must believe and not doubt’. For this to be reality for us then, as we come to pray, we must focus on the one to whom we pray and James does just that in the closing words of this section of his letter v.16ff
Don’t be deceived, my dear brothers and sisters. Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. He chose to give us birth through the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of all he created.
This is the one to whom we come, the one who loves his people to pray and loves to answer!
So as we begin the week, let us thank God for his goodness, ask him to reveal himself to us in ever more thrilling ways so that our faith and confidence may grow. Then let us ask for wisdom as we seek the way ahead to the glory of his name in the communities in which he has placed us as his witnesses.