“If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him.” James 1:5
Nearly thirty years ago I was a young man on my way to South Korea as a student missionary. During our orientation meetings, I can still remember Pastor Larry Stephenson talking to us about claiming God’s promise to give us wisdom and telling us that over the course of the next year we’d need to turn to God for wisdom and he’d fulfill his promise for us.
Less than six months later I came into a small Bible Class I was teaching to find the four students in the class intensely working together, frequently consulting their dictionaries. I could tell that they had a question for me so I waited for them to finish. Finally they were ready and they asked me their question, “What is the Christian’s purpose in the world.”
Immediately, I knew that I needed wisdom beyond my twenty two years to answer their question. If we’d all spoken English it wouldn’t have been a problem, we could have had a discussion and together arrived at an answer, but these were level one students who had a very limited command of English.
I remembered Pastor Larry’s counsel and silently sent up a prayer and almost immediately received an answer. A picture flashed through my mind of the sun’s rays shining down upon the moon and being reflected onto the dark side of the earth.
Stepping to the chalk board, yes, we used chalk, I quickly drew a crude diagram of the sun, the moon, and the earth with lines illustrating the path of the light coming from sun to the moon, and from the moon to the earth.
I then said that the sun was God, the moon was the Christians, and our job was to shine God’s love and wisdom into the lives of those living in darkness without it.
It took less than a minute to draw this answer for them and as I drew the diagram for them I saw their faces light up with understanding.
They never knew that we all came away having learned something important. It must have seemed to them that I was just ready to give them the answer they sought when the truth was God had dramatically proved his presence in my life by hearing my silent cry for wisdom and immediately supplying me with his answer.
Over the years I’ve had numerous occasions when I needed to repeat that call for wisdom and I’ve never had God fail to send an answer. Most often a bit of work is required on my part, God doesn’t encourage laziness in our dependence on him, but I’ve never had him fail to provide the wisdom I asked for.