I recently took a trip with a friend across the country so she could speak at a conference. Somewhere in our hours of talking, we realized we were hungry and stopped at a Panera. The place was actually closed, but they graciously allowed us to order and carry it out.
We carted our tasty food to the car and scarfed it up in the parking lot, doors open to create a breeze. Finishing up, we scrounged around for a napkin—anything—to wipe our hands. Finding nothing, I finally searched deep into the bowels of my now greasy purse and pulled out a slightly-used, crumbled old green napkin from who-knows-where. I unfolded it once and then ripped it in half, one for each of us. Good thing there weren't four of us because one tiny quarter would not have been nerely enough.
We can approach God in our time of need in this way, too.
We undoubtedly learn it in childhood.
Come on, Johnny. There are two Twix in this package. Give one to your sister. Let's divide this Sprite into four cups, and you can each have a little bit. Share that cake with your brothers. Let your Mama have some of your milkshake.
Little Johnny sees the resources dividing right before his eyes. He knows he doesn't have it all—only a portion. That other person getting a piece means something is being held back from him. Bummer.
Granted, the stakes are low here for Johnny. After all, sharing is a great thing to learn, and we are thankful that parents instill it in us.
But we often approach Father's wisdom and His character in the same way as that folded napkin.
You get a bit and I get a bit. If four of us need a piece of your wisdom, Lord, I only get a quarter of it after you fold it twice and rip it apart. Heaven forbid the entire world asks, giving me only a tiny shred for my great need.
Sounds absurd, right? But adults often do the same in the times we stand in serious need of Father's wisdom, and the stakes are very high in our life.
We’d never out-right say it, but we feel it unspoken inside. “God is holding out on me.”
But is He?
But if anything of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him." James 1:5
At first reading this verse, I noticed the adverb "generously." It's a word we all understand which describes how Father gives. And why wouldn't He? God is good. Full of mercy. Of course, he would give generously.
But what if our definition and His are a bit different? What word picture does Webster create for you?
Does it look like your dinner host giving you an extra portion of delicious whipped cream on top of your pie? Or a family member giving you his car to use for a few months while you look for another? A boss giving you an extra week off? Does it look like your friend giving you a sweater just because 'it looked like you'?
Maybe. Yet, in Greek, the word means something interesting.
Generously = haplōs = Strongs G574
God doesn't merely generously give as we understand it.
He, instead, gives without folding, dividing, or holding anything back.
Isn't that amazing? It would undoubtedly thrill the three-year-old inside of us.
Yet it can also thrill the adult-aged us who long to have it all. And here we can. We can ask Father for wisdom, and He will give us all the needed insight without folding up the total amount and distributing pieces. No, He shares with simplicity. What is more simplistic than, "It's all for you."
Thankfully, our God never folds and rips the napkin! Let's remember that next time we ask for wisdom. I did today.
"Lord, you know my problem. You know where I need your complete and undivided wisdom. Thank you that you give it to me without holding back. You give me all I need and I can trust you. Always. Especially now. Amen!"