My family used to vacation in Maine when I was growing up, and one summer we took a whale-watching expedition. There’s not a lot that I remember about the expedition except that we didn’t see any whales but most of us got sick to our stomachs. From time to time the boat would stop as we’d try to look for the evasive mammals, and that rocking motion was enough to make me feel like throwing up. James uses the visual image of a wave of the sea being tossed back and forth to describe the person who asks God for wisdom but who doesn’t ultimately trust God to provide it. Another visual image is sitting on a fence, being unable to decide which side to land on. When we approach God in humility and request His wisdom, we also have to believe that He’s going to give it to us. The person who constantly places his trust in himself will only find a life marked by disappointment. But the one who can overcome his or her selfish pride and, in humility approaches God, will find that God graciously honors the request.
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Seth is a pastor, author, and speaker who lives in Batesville, Indiana. He is married to Kari, and they have two daughters, Madelyn and Noelle.