“Now if any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives to all generously and without criticizing, and it will be given to him. But let him ask in faith without doubting. For the doubter is like the surging sea, driven and tossed by the wind. That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. An indecisive man is unstable in all his ways.” James 1:5-8 Christian Standard Bible
“There is nothing more difficult than to ask. We will long and desire and crave and suffer, but not until we are at the extreme limit will we ask. A sense of unreality makes us ask. Have you ever asked out of the depths of moral poverty?” (My Utmost for His Highest, June 9, Oswald Chambers)
“The Spirit reveals that we belong not to a world of success, fame, or power but to God. The world enslaves us with fear; the Spirit frees us from that slavery and restores us to the true relationship. This is what Paul means when he says, “All who are guided by the Spirit of God are sons [daughters] of God, for what you received was not the spirit of slavery to bring you back into fear; you received the spirit of adoption, enabling us to cry out, ‘Abba, Father!’” (Romans 8:15) (Henri Nouwen, Bread for the Journey)
My father was adopted. At three days old my grandparents took him home from the hospital, their new son. We always knew he was adopted, but had never seen the paperwork or knew any of the details. Even the information concerning when he was first with my grandparents was unknown to me until just a few months ago. My dad had told us his adoption papers were lost in a fire at the county courthouse, so my sisters and I figured there was nothing more to learn.
That was fine until my niece decided it wasn’t good enough and began the work of looking for more of my dad’s history. We found out there was quite a lot to discover! It was all there, the adoption papers, birth certificate, birth parents names, and most intriguing to me was the paperwork of adoption. It stated that from the date of the signing of the final declaration of adoption, Baby R. was from that moment forward a Gerking. As far as the law was concerned Baby R. Gerking was just as much my grandparent’s child as if he had been actually born to them physically!
I think it was the way it was stated as an absolute that it took my breath away. I have accepted being a Gerking in name, but never quite as one of the family. There was the missing connection of blood for me, the knowledge that no matter how I looked at it, I would never carry the Gerking family’s German bloodline through my veins. So I always felt like a phony, someone who was never sure who they were.
When I was younger, I once asked my Mom what we were, what was our nationality. She answered we were Heinz 57, not a very satisfactory answer for a young boy seeking to find something to make him unique! For most of our lives my sisters and I believed we were partially Native American because our Dad told us he was. Not true! We have had two DNA tests done and not one single drop of Native American blood courses through our veins. So much for my dreams of becoming a Cheyenne Dog Soldier!
What does any of this have to do with the above quotes? Well, let’s see if I am able to tie this all together because it does connect. I just have to get it from my global brain into concrete sequential thinking and words; which, believe me, isn’t easy!
First: Asking for help is never an easy thing to do no matter who we are. Most of us wait far too long before we will seek outside help. Sometimes we wait until it’s nearly too late! It can be especially difficult if that asking involves someone we don’t know very well, although it can be equally as difficult asking someone we know intimately for help. But I believe relationship makes a vast difference in our ability to seek the help we need when we need it.
When James promotes the principle of asking God for wisdom, he states it needs to be done with confidence, with faith knowing it will be given. Why? Because God has no problem giving us the wisdom we need, and there is no reason to doubt Him! Besides, we are His sons and daughters, so why would He withhold that which we need?
Second: We wait to ask for help or wisdom because of our own pride, vanity, shame, arrogance, self-rejection, guilt, etc. I’m sure you could come up with your own list of reasons. The quote from Oswald Chambers relates to this segment of our reluctance to seek help when needed. Of all the attitudes we carry within us, it really is a ridiculous attitude. Everyone sooner or later needs help, some form of assistance, a lift, a pickup from a fall. And I maintain that until you have had to receive you cannot appreciate what it is to truly give. Just as a reminder, Jesus had those who gave, those who cared for His needs, even supplying His burial place! If Jesus needed others to help care for Him, where do we get off thinking we are better than He was? And remember, He is our elder Brother, intimately related to us!
Third: Because of our adoption as sons and daughters of God we have every right to ask Him for what we need. Especially when it comes to wisdom while we live in this broken world and as we seek to serve each other! The response God promises to give to our asking will not cause you or anyone else harm. And no matter how much you think you need something, God isn’t in the business of granting us frivolous requests! Do we really think He believes it is in our best interest who wins the World Series, the Super Bowl, The World Cup, Wimbledon, etc.? As hard as it may seem, I don’t think He believes you or I need to win the Lottery.
So, what have we learned?
How do you see God these days? Is He interested in you? Does He care what happens in your life? Have you accepted the truth you are His Beloved and you are becoming his Beloved? How about asking Him for wisdom? Do you know He will give to you exactly what you need without any doubt? Have you come to know that He loves you just like He loves Jesus? Are you aware every day He has you cocooned within Himself granting the request Jesus made that you and I would be one with Him as Jesus was One with Him?
So, what have we learned?
“We will never receive if we ask with an end in view; if we ask, not out of our poverty but out of our lust. A pauper does not ask from any other reason than the abject panging condition of his poverty; he is not ashamed to beg.—Blessed are the paupers in spirit.” (Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest June 9)