Avoiding Seasickness (James 1:6-8)

But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord. A double minded man is unstable in all his ways.” (James 1:6–8, AV)

I have only been seasick once in my life. It happened one cold clammy morning when my buddy and I decided to go out on a cod fishing trip off of Montauk Point, NY. I woke up early and went to the greasy-spoon for breakfast before we left. After downing two sunny-side-up eggs and bacon, and drinking two cups of coffee, we departed on the Peconic Queen for an all-day trip. I think the breakfast would not have bothered me if it were not for the weather. A hurricane had passed up offshore and there were 30-foot swells. So, it was cold, clammy, and the boat was going up and down 30-feet, and the boat had this odor of rotten fish. I told my buddy that my stomach was not doing well and he gave me some Tums. That was all I needed to start me hurling over the side of the boat. It was the perfect storm of seasickness.

There is a perfect storm of seasickness when we encounter trials of various kinds. The solution is to ask for wisdom. However, when we ask for wisdom, we must ask in faith, without wavering. The word for “wavering” in the KJV is translated “doubting” in other translations. The work in the Greek is diakrino, which has the idea of making a distinction or preference, or to dispute. Only those of true faith will be able to grasp the wisdom from above without debating its validity and doubting God’s wisdom.

James states that the one who doubts is like the waves of the sea being tossed about by the wind. This is the very agitation that causes seasickness and in the case of one encountering trials, this doubting makes one very uncomfortable, seasick so to speak. James indicates that this faithless person who doubts will not receive the wisdom that God gives for the faithless one is unstable in his ways.

So, what is faith? Biblical faith is basically to completely trust in God. For this, we must first believe that He exists (Heb 11:1). We must believe that He is sovereign over all, and that He has a great plan for us in every situation (Rom 8:28; Heb 11:6). We must also believe that His word is absolute truth (John 17:17) and it will put us on the best path (Ps 119:105).

To live by biblical faith, we must be able to discern between human wisdom and God’s wisdom (Prov 3:5-6), and reject the human and follow the divine. The faithless man is unable to do this. He will naturally follow the way of human wisdom. Yet there is only one true source of wisdom, God. It is this wisdom that we need in the times of trials.

All of this begins with a great reverence for God. Look at these Scriptures.

The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: a good understanding have all they that do his commandments: his praise endureth for ever.” (Psalm 111:10, AV)

The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding.” (Proverbs 9:10, AV)

Avoid being seasick in your times of trial. Seek God’s wisdom and do not doubt. You will do this when you have true faith in Him. It begins when you revere the Lord God. When you do, you will trust in Him and His ways as revealed in His word.

Published by Steve Hankins, Th.D.

Steve has had extensive military, business and ministry experience. He has served for over 16 years in full time vocational ministry and many years of part time ministry in churches. He has led churches through start-up and recasting of vision. Now He resides on the Outer Banks of North Carolina where he is working to help smaller churches and believers to renew their hearts and regain the joy of the Lord.

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