"Daddy, can you help me?"
This phrase uttered by one of my daughters is music to my ears. These words transform me into the super dad flying in to the rescue. I donned my new Vikings hoodie. Then I came swooping in to rescue amidst the post-Christmas disaster zone of the living room.
Upon assessing the situation, my daughter can't get her toy to work. Immediately I go into troubleshooting mode. It's got batteries and turned on, but still not working.
I asked her, "What is the toy supposed to do?"
"I don't know," she exclaimed.
"Did you read the instructions?" I inquired, thinking to myself this should have been the first step in opening the present.
Her response caught me off guard. "Why do I need instructions? It is just supposed to work."
The basis for the toy's existence and operations are laying in the pile of trash utterly neglected. The instructions are a free gift from the maker given to the end user to make operation of the toy possible.
Why would anyone throw the instructions away and then have the audacity to expect it to work?
As I was pondering this horror of neglect, God reminded me of a verse. James 1:5: "Now if any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives to all generously and without criticizing, and it will be given to him."
There are times when we do not have the information we need. This lack of knowledge is not a sign of weakness or failure. The failure would only come when we do not seek the wisdom needed.
My daughter did the right thing by asking me for help. Yes, she didn't go to the easily provided written instructions. But before she destroyed the toy she did ask for guidance. She did her part of asking for instructions and now it was my turn to respond.
I could have responded by handing her the instructions and telling her to figure it out for herself. I could have yelled at her for not reading the instructions and bothering me. I could have even walked away in disgust.
That verse rang in my ears. Notice when we ask God for wisdom He generously gives and gives without criticizing. Since our Father in heaven is generous and kind with His wisdom, I should, in turn, be generous with my wisdom and without a critical spirit. My response will determine the outcome of this interaction.
Thankfully, I choose to be generous and non-critical. Together we solved the toy non-functionality crisis.
As we look at the upcoming year, will we seek wisdom from above and allow God to be generous without criticizing? Or will we neglect to seek wisdom? Or when we do seek wisdom will we be critical? The response is our choice.
The wisdom of God is dramatically different. James 3:17-18: "But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peace-loving, gentle, compliant, full of mercy and good fruits, without favoritism and hypocrisy. And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those who cultivate peace."
Seek wisdom and cultivate peace in 2018.