What is God’s intention and desire for us?
In a word, “wholeness.”
That we would be whole in our relationship with him. That we would be whole in our relationships with each other. That we would be whole in every aspect of our lives.
That’s a comforting thought, isn’t it? We all want to be made whole.
The next thought might not be so comforting: It is for the purpose of being made whole that we go through many of the trials and struggles we do.
That’s why it’s hard for us to accept James’ word to us when he says,
Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. (2-3)
Pure joy? When we face suffering?
Yes. Pure joy. Why? Because these trials produce perseverance in our lives. Why is perseverance so important?
Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. (4)
In short, the path to wholeness is one of persevering through trial. For through those trials, we learn to cast aside trusting ourselves and our own wisdom.
The reason our lives are so broken is that we have spent our entire lives trusting ourselves and our own wisdom. But through our trials, we learn just how vain life is living that way.
But when we turn to God, learning to trust him and his ways, and we persevere in living that way even through trial, then we find wholeness. In our relationship with him, with each other, and in every aspect of our lives.
That’s why James tells us in the next verse,
If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all he does. (5-8)
As I read this, I can’t help but think of Hebrews 11:6, where it says,
And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.
Wholeness comes down to trusting God. If we doubt God’s goodness in our lives, we will never do the things he asks. And if we don’t do the things he asks, our lives will remain the broken shells they are.
How about you? Do you want to be whole, when all the while you’re holding on to your wisdom and your ways? You can never be made that whole that way. That way leads only to brokenness and despair.
But if you will trust in God, he will bring you out of the trials you are going through. And he will bring you out mature, whole, and complete.
What will you do?