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 1:5-6
I don't know about you, but I seldom have all the information I need to make a good decision about anything. Unfortunately, I've made a lot of past decisions regardless. I don't need to tell you the outcomes! I know where to look for answers, of course, and that's to God's Word, but often I need a clear direction that pertains to the circumstances I find myself in. How about you?
Well, in this passage of scripture from James, we have a promise from the lips of God, Almighty God. When we lack, we should ask! By way of illustration, I'd like to call your attention to the life of a dear saint by the name of George Washington Carver (1860-1943). He was an American scientist, botanist, educator, and inventor whose studies and teaching revolutionized agriculture in the South before slavery was abolished. He was also a black man who grew up in the aftermath of the Civil War.
Much of Carver's fame was based on his research and promotion of alternative crops to cotton, such as peanuts and sweet potatoes. He wanted poor farmers to grow alternative crops, as both a source of their own food, as well as a source of other products to improve their quality of life. Few people realize that he was also a Christian and a man of prayer. According to Carver's own testimony, he would enter the laboratory each morning and pray,
"Dear Mr. Creator, what do you want to show me today?"
Carver confessed that initially his prayers were not very specific. At first he prayed, "Dear Mr. Creator, what was the universe made for?" and the Lord told him to be more specific. So he prayed, "Then Mr. Creator, what was man created for?" and God said he was still asking too much. Finally, Carver prayed, "Dear Mr. Creator, what was the peanut created for?" God began to answer that prayer and over the next few years, over one hundred different commercial uses for the peanut emerged from his laboratory, including peanut butter!
His most popular bulletin contained 105 existing food recipes that used peanuts. He also created or disseminated about 100 products made from peanuts that were useful for the house and farm, including cosmetics, dyes, paints, plastics, gasoline and nitroglycerin.* All because he took God up on His promise to give wisdom when we ask.
A wise man once said about this kind of prayer, "Common sense suits itself to the ways of the world. Wisdom tries to conform to the ways of heaven.**
Which would you prefer? God invites us to ask, "Dear Mr. Creator, what do you want to show me today?"
*Alvin J. Vander Griend with Edith Bajema, The Praying Church Sourcebook, Church Development Resources, p.271.
**Joseph Joubert, Pensees.