Devotion #194

If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.

James 1:5-8 ESV

It’s easy to be a Christian when things are going well, but so much more challenging when the storms of life are raging. James writes these verses to remind us these are the times we need His wisdom—when we are beaten as the wind on the sea, driven and tossed around by the storms of life. When you are in a storm, it’s hard to see what lies ahead. You can get turned around, unsure of which way to go. Some days, you’re just trying to keep the boat from capsizing and the waves from overwhelming you. But God stands above the winds that toss us and the storms that surrounds us. He can see beyond the waves that blind us, and His desire is to point us in the right direction.

But we have to seek it. We have to not only desire the wisdom; we have to seek it and we have to wait for it. Far too often in life, we inform God of our direction rather than patiently allowing God to inform our decisions. We start getting thrown about on the seas of life, and we immediately start making corrections, decisions, and adjustments to our course. As we see those waves rise, we look to Him to move them and we tell Him how we want that to happen. We forget our navigation system is faulty because we don’t have the capacity to see beyond what is right in front of us. But He does.

You and your spouse will face incredible storms in the span of your lifetime together, and those storms will try to rip you apart. You will know financial stress, you will be exhausted from the trials of raising children together, you will be overwhelmed by the busyness in your schedule, and you will endure great loss together. Our tendency when the storm starts to rage is to try control them. We want to change our course and find our way out of the storm, or we think we have the power to stop the wind and the waves—often while your spouse is navigating a different course from the other side of the boat. Our fears will have working tirelessly against the storm and against each other, rather than working in union and with the only One who can navigate the storm. 

When our efforts to control the storm fail, we bring our plan to God and ask Him to make it happen. The storm continues to rage, so we start to pray fervently for it to happen. As the winds continue to buffet, we grow angrier and more frustrated with God’s lack of response. So, we change course again and again, each time bringing our plan to God, each time wondering why the storm continues to rage.

Stop. What we fail to recognize is that we’re operating the boat on our own wisdom, navigating our own course, and we’ve failed to seek His wisdom. Sure, we pray about it, but what we’re actually doing is asking God to get on our plan, rather than asking Him for the plan. When you see those storms begin to rise, don’t rush to a solution, don’t change course, and don’t start yelling at the waves to settle down. Pause and pray—together. Tell God you see the storm coming and ask Him for the map to navigate through the challenges, then wait. Wait until both you and your spouse have been given the coordinates of your course before taking a step forward. 

My husband and I have learned this lesson the hard way, by trying to navigate through many incredibly difficult decisions on our own. What we’ve learned is that just because we see a storm on the horizon, it doesn’t mean we have to immediately begin setting a course and problem-solving—sometimes, seeking wisdom involves waiting for the plan from God. The peace we have found in the wisdom given to us after seeking and waiting, the confidence we’ve had in the plan when God has given us unity of mind, is truly remarkable.

Press on ~ you are loved.

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