The majority of children, teens, and college students have started a new school year. My son is a senior in college and my daughter is a freshman learning to navigate her way in a new world. I am very thankful that they both chose to attend the same college and that their college is local. Even though it’s here in town, they both live in the dorms but come home on the weekends for mom’s cooking and to use the laundry room. Every school year at every age brings new challenges for every student. Some subjects are harder than others, but when a student also does not enjoy that subject, it is difficult to get them to excel in that class.
Since God created us, he knows our likes and dislikes. He knows the subjects our children do well in and the ones that give them the most trouble. James, the half-brother of Jesus (typically considered the author of the book of James in the New Testament), wrote “Now if any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who give to all generously and without criticizing, and I will be given to him. But let him ask in faith without doubting.” (James 1:5-6). We, as parents, can pray for God to grant wisdom, knowledge, and understanding for our children. We can also teach our children to pray and ask God to give them these things.
Asking God for wisdom does not just apply to our children who are learning new things in school. It can also be for us as we are trying to understand a Biblical principle of which we can’t seem to quite grasp the full understanding. We can also ask God to help us as we try to learn a new task at work or when we need wisdom in making a major life decision, such as moving, taking a new job, or making a big purchase. No matter what we seem to lack wisdom in, God tells us to ask him for it. After all, God is the one who created the universe and set everything into motion. If anyone understand the things we have a hard time grasping, it’s God. All the scientific law may be named after the scientists that discovered them, but they did not create the those laws….God did when he created the world. So why not go to the One who knows it better than anyone else? He is the one who can open our minds and help us see something we didn’t see before or to clear out the confusing thoughts so that we can grasp what’s true. He the one who can give us ears to hear as things are explained to us in a way that understanding breaks through.
James also tells us in this verse that God gives wisdom generously. Liberally. He is a big-hearted God and he stand by ready to grant us the wisdom we need. However, the key is to first recognize the need and then to ask God for it. The Greek word for “liberally” is haploos and it means “bountifully” (Strong’s Concordance). So when we ask, he does just measure it by teaspoon fulls. He dumps it on…as much as we need for the purpose we are asking.
God doesn’t just give us wisdom generously, but he also does it without criticizing. When I was in school, I was one of the shy kids and would have never raised my hand and asked a question because I didn’t want to look dumb to the other students in the class. I’m not shy like that anymore, but I am still glad that God does not criticize when I ask him for help to understand something. He doesn’t roll His eyes in exasperation. There is no long, drawn out sigh of frustration. Instead, He is the loving father who created us and already knows the limited capabilities of our minds. He’s like the parent who’s child is trying to learn to read and the parent picks the child up and sets her in his lap and helps her sound out each sound and put them together until she can read the word on her own. Then He celebrates with us when that “ah-ha” moment comes and we “get it.”
James also tells us that when we ask for wisdom, we will receive it. There is no “maybe” or “if God isn’t busy with something else” or “He’ll think about it and get back to us next week. No. When we ask for wisdom, God will give it. Because we know that God keeps his promises and He will do what He says He will do, we can ask in confidence, with faith. There is no need to doubt. Psalm 5:3 tells us that God hears our voice as we plead our case to Him and then we are to watch expectantly.
Whether your children need some wisdom as they tackle a new school year or you need some yourself, go ahead and ask God to give it you, then expect Him to give it to you. Teach your children to ask God for wisdom for themselves so that when they sit in class and have difficulty understanding, they can silently ask God for wisdom in that moment. He is a God who loves to give us good gifts.