1:6-8 These verses sometimes bother me. In general, I do really believe that God will give me what I ask, but at the same time, I also rest on the peace that sometimes it is not in God's Will and He says "no" or "wait." Therefore, I do not pray with expectation, but rather with trust that He will give me what is best me according to the bigger picture that only He can see and know. However, I know some denominations really put these verses to practice and focus their hearts on the belief that what they ask for will really happen. It makes me wonder if they feel let down or their faith itself falters into doubt when they do not get what they asked for with such heartfelt belief. In the end, it seems to me that the words "belief and doubt" refer to faith itself and trusting that God loves me and not so much that what I ask for will receive a "yes" answer. It does not mean to expect a yes, but rather to expect that God will hear and listen to me. It means because of my faith I look to God for answers and not to another source, including my own willpower and means. It is faith in action! It means faith is a prerequisite and that faith in and of itself is a gift from God! Oh, now stop thinking too much! God's got this!
Then there is the thought that these first verses in James are about testing our faith, not for God to know because He already knows my heart, but for me to examine my own heart. When I do not feel an answer from God, am I patient or do I try to find another means on my own? Then my brain doubts myself whether I am praying with enough faith. I certainly do not want to be that double-minded and unstable person that this verse references! Oh, to go round and round in the mind when I ponder these verses! Thank God that He is not double-minded toward me! Ah! Then I realize how silly I am to even question my faith because it is truly a gift from God and nothing I do. Mind, just go there. Just pray and trust. Just look to God for my answers and not anywhere else. Just turn even my doubts over to God. How do I get through trials? Pray to a God who loves me!
I need wisdom to face trials with "all joy." Common sense tells me to worry until I figure out the trial. Wisdom tells me to feel blessed that I have a God that loves me and will direct me. God will give me wisdom, but I must not doubt His promises to forgive my sins and that He loves me and gives to me generously. If my mind wallows in my own little "doubting boat," thinking I can do it all by myself through common sense, I will feel tossed about in the storms of life, feeling as restless and unstable as the waves. But if I rely on God's "confidence boat," allowing Him to lead my way, I won't even feel the waves. Ephesians 4:14 refers to "children" being tossed to and fro by the waves. Children are not mature people. Doubt is a symptom of immature faith. Mature faith is a belief that God's way is best. God can choose to bring my desires and His ways together as well!