Biblical Illuminations
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Ask For Wisdom: an Illustration from Physics Class

Posted by Douglas Twitchell on Feb 16, 2006
My freshman year in college, I took Physics 121, which was the introductory level physics course, required for all engineering majors. It was a "weed out" class, which meant it was intended to be difficult enough to "weed out" the people who either weren't serious about study, or weren't able to keep pace.
Tests were graded out of 120 points, and anything above 55 points was considered passing. Another way of saying that: if you got 46%, you were passing! Still, half the class was always in danger of failing.

Because I had an incredibly strong background in Physics from high school, my college level class didn't teach me anything new until about halfway through the second semester. While my classmates were struggling, I was coasting along, getting 110, 115 points per test.

It wasn't long before I had classmates hanging out in my room nights before Physics tests, asking for my help. I was always glad to give them help, and they knew that I wouldn't steer them wrong.

Imagine, though, if every time I explained a problem to someone, they had said to me, "Well, that's a nice idea, but I think this way will work just as well..." And then they proceeded to use a different method, arriving at a different answer.

Don't you imagine that after awhile, I would say "Excuse me, if you're not ever going to listen to what I tell you, why are you even bothering to ask?"

This is the attitude James warns about in James 1:5-6: 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.

James tells us: don't come to God asking for wisdom, and then just ignore the wisdom which he gives. The problem is, we often don't like the advice we get, so we try to set it aside. But James says, if you ask God for wisdom, and then ignore what He shows you, you're unstable, and will make no progress in life!

The good news is that, as happy as I always was to give advice and help to my classmates, God is even more eager to give to us; James says that He "gives generously". How great to know that God is not only all-knowing, but generous to boot!

Where to Go from Here...

Read more: Wisdom, Doubt
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