Thursday 7 March

5 If any of you is lacking in wisdom, ask God, who gives to all generously and ungrudgingly, and it will be given you.

6But ask in faith, never doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind; 7, 8for the doubter, being double-minded and unstable in every way, must not expect to receive anything from the Lord.

I understand that I need wisdom. Wisdom is the ability to see more deeply. I will see more deeply when I find that place within myself where I know I am in fact “lacking in nothing” (v.4).

So, why does James say in the very next verse, “If any of you is lacking in wisdom”?

When reading any spiritual text, I need always to see that some statements are a theological, objective, ontological statement of fact. In reality, ultimately, I am “lacking in nothing.” I am a dwelling place of the Holy Spirit. The truth, beauty, wisdom and light of Christ, that in Christian tradition we say we see embodied fully in the person of Jesus, resides in my being. So, I am “lacking in nothing.”

But, often my experience of life is different. Often I experience life as absence. I do not seem to be able to keep up. It feels as if there is some essential ingredient at the core of my being that is missing. I want; I need; I desire and I so often feel empty and lacking.

James wants me to understand that the answer to this experience of lack is not to work harder, try to be better, take another course, or read another book on how to make life work. The answer to lack is to turn in my heart to the Source of all life and trust that God is present; I am not alone. My life is filled with goodness, truth and beauty.

It is when I doubt this presence within myself that I go astray. It sounds so harsh, but is simply true that, when I doubt, I am “like a wave of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind.” The wisdom of Christ that dwells in my heart is rendered powerless when I doubt that it is there. I “receive” nothing when I fail to understand that “I lack nothing.”