Swarms of vicious, rabid mice were attacking my son, nibbling at his legs. Screaming in terror, he couldn’t hear my voice as I told him to remove his 3-D glasses. He kept freaking out. I shouted at him: “Take off your glasses!” When he finally heard me, registered that it was my voice, believed me and then tentatively reached up to remove his glasses, the mice instantly retreated into the confines of the movie screen at the Walt Disney theater. But for awhile there, he was too terrified to listen, much less obey.
The same principle is in play when we are stressed out or suffering and ask God for wisdom (See: Wise Up). God gives wisdom, generously and without finding fault. But if we are too distracted by our fears to listen, it does no good. That’s why James added this next part to his teaching on asking for and receiving God’s wisdom:
“But when he asks [God for wisdom], 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.” (James 1:6-8 – with my added explanation in brackets)
We’ve all experienced the paralysis of indecision, when our minds resemble squirrels caught in the middle of the road. Doubt can stop you dead in your tracks. Satan’s first strategy in the Garden of Eden was to inject doubt between the humans and God.
” …He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?”” (Genesis 3:1b)
When you ask Him for wisdom, you could doubt that God would answer, doubt His wisdom is true, or doubt that it is really God Who you have heard. Any one of those doubts would interfere with your ability to hear His voice and apply His wisdom. The solution for that is practice – practice before you really are in a desperate need. If you get in the habit of asking God for wisdom, listening for His response, and following what He tells you, soon you will be able to recognize His voice and distinguish it from all the other voices. With practice, you will learn to trust and follow what He tells you.
You will be very glad you practiced, the next time you get attacked by mice…