Devotional Day 4
But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But he must ask in faith without any doubting, for the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind. For that person ought not to expect that he will receive anything from the Lord, being a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.James 1:5-8
Starting Our Second Day
After a late night and no access to our suitcases until 9:30am, we got off to a rather late start. We took the metro back to where we left off the day before and re-launched at about 11am. After crossing a high bridge, we were soon back to the wooden boardwalk along the shore. The water was beautiful, but the headwind was relentless, slowing us down considerably. Although I had carried most of what I planned to take with me the day before, Dean’s backpack was significantly heavier, so he was also feeling the effects on his back. My hamstrings were still sore, but bearable. We saw quite a few other peregrinos, all passing us at a faster pace. Conversation was minimal, with the sound of wind and waves almost drowning out words.
Every so often we stopped at a bench guarded by a wooden windbreaker for water or a snack. After several hours we reached a restaurant that looked like a good place for a cup of coffee, a bite to eat, and evaluation of how much further to go that day. Looking at the maps and apps, it seemed there was a good albergue option in Vila Chã, only another 3km. But there was no way to know if they still had beds available, and the next one was over 6 km beyond that; 9km seemed too daunting. We could only hope.
As we walked along, I thought about James’ words on wisdom.
James first states that endurance can be what results in “lacking in nothing” (v. 2). Then he specifically notes all who are lacking in wisdom can directly ask God for it and receive it. Why does he specifically suggest wisdom?
I think back to Solomon, known for his wisdom. When God offered him anything, he asked for wisdom, not for his own gain, his own profit, but for his capacity to serve God in the position of kingship he had inherited. Today, very few people hold the same level of authority or power as Solomon, but we are each in positions of both servitude and influence. Like James, we are called to be servants of God, of Jesus (v. 1).
As servants, our decisions and actions should revolve around the will of our Master. Wisdom means being in tune with His will—both through awareness of what He is doing and clarity of how we are to participate. God freely invites us to take part in what He is doing! He wants us to ask for direction, to be in tune with His Spirit, to participate in His powerful, global, eternal works, even though we might only see a tiny fraction of all that entails. Seeking wisdom is not for our own superficial benefits—immediate gratification or positions of power, but for direction to strategic servitude in Christ’s kingdom.
It seems there is a significance in the act of asking. First, it takes humility to acknowledge when we are lacking something. Yet, wisdom is not something that you gain a certain amount and have enough to meet all your needs for the rest of your life. I’ve discovered that the more I learn, the more I realize how much I don’t know. Likewise, the more I see about God’s character, the more I realize how far beyond my comprehension are His power and love, His holiness and sovereignty. I am blown away at His willingness to let me, in the midst of my failures and shortcomings, participate in His plan for the universe.
Asking for wisdom is acknowledging my need for direction, while also embracing the role that He has given me, however large or small my “contribution” might be. I want to serve. And I want to serve well, not depending just on my own education, training, or online searching for information to make a decision, but on His perfect guidance. I ask because I know He has all the wisdom I need, and because I know He wants to share it with me.
Arriving in Vila Chã close to 5 pm, we were relieved there were still a few bunk beds left, although when checking in the volunteer did not make it immediately clear. Apparently she liked seeing the relief on an exhausted person’s face when finally hearing a bed was available. After a quick shower, appreciating the hot water washing away the salty wind deposits, I found the sink outside to wash the day’s sweaty clothes. Free detergent was available, as well as clips to hang clothes on the line for the last few hours of sunlight.
Then we had time to rest our muscles and write, before walking (which to me felt close to limping, the backs of my legs still sore) to buy groceries for the next morning and a place for a late (for us) dinner. It was a small town, so there weren’t many options, but the upstairs restaurant we found had a good mix of locals and peregrinos, with reasonable prices for generous portions (and no extra charge for substituting salad for fries, as necessary for my diet).
We made our way back to the albergue, feeling tired enough to not complain about the early (for us) lights-out time at 10pm. I stayed up a while longer, using my cell phone to look for ways to cross from the coastal route to the central route. After hours facing the wind on the shore we had asked for others’ opinions, and some experienced volunteers and travelers recommended the central route as much less windy and more picturesque. Then sleep.
Thank you, Lord, for Your generous offer of wisdom along this journey of life. Rather than criticize our foolishness, You welcome us as we are and invite us into closer communion with You, that we might know Your truth and Your will. Help me to be more in tune with You, listening and learning, centering and serving.
- When making a decision, what factors influence you? What bears the most weight?
- How do you relate knowing God to knowing wisdom?
- Take time to ask God what He wants you to know today, bringing before Him whatever is on your mind and heart.
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