From parenting to paying the mortgage we all experience moments that are filled with “God, how did I/we get here?” realities.
Such moments may be pathways into a deeper, more fulfilling experience of life.
Such moments are, in fact, moments from which wisdom is often birthed.
Today we continue our exploration in and discovery of Wisdom by asking the question:
WHAT IS WISDOM?
Wisdom might be defined, popularly, in the following way:
A way of living in which one displays sensitive, mature and discerning decisions and/or judgments in the daily grind of life.
Or, in list form,
- Knowledge Gained Through Experience.
- Recognizing and acting on the difference between right and wrong.
- Good old fashioned common sense.
- Practical knowledge.
I would add that wisdom – at least ancient, Gospel birthed Wisdom – is the ability to navigate the complexities of life and see God’s presence in the midst of those complexities. Wisdom is the gift of slowing the frenetic pace of life down to a rhythm which opens one up to the presence of God. A rhythm which awakens our awareness of where He is as we prayerfully discern where He is heading!
This type of knowledge is best gained through experience.
The first moment we encounter trauma, hardship, or loss we will likely not be able to see God very clearly. Things are distorted, moving too fast.
Some years ago Melissa was diagnosed with lymphoma. She was 32 years old at the time. The cancer she carries is, thankfully, quite treatable. She spent about 18 months undergoing treatment. Her cancer is at bay today; meaning it’s inactive.
The news of her diagnosis was shocking and sudden. It was impossible to see God’s presence in the midst of all the chaos. I couldn’t understand why and even questioned what we/I did to lead us to this point.
Through many months of soul searching and journeying down the road of pain and suffering, I found a place of peace in the hand of God.
The way from pain to peace was a winding and difficult pathway through the following check points:
- Checkpoint 1 – Surrender. Early on in this journey I found that, while surrender was the only option I had, control was the illusion I was choosing. Eventually, through God’s love and grace, I opened myself to surrender. This journey required times of silence and solitude and extended seasons of prayer, fasting and contemplative reading. I found the Psalms and the portions of the Gospel of John to be particularly enriching during the season of life. The more I read – and listened attentively and cooperatively to the Scriptures – the more my heart was encouraged to surrender to the loving words I read and the living God who authored them.
- Checkpoint 2 – Hope. Surrender provided the foundation upon which hope was built. Surrendering my control over the situation lead me to hope in God. Hope is a crucial tutor in the school of wisdom. Many people who live foolishly tend to do so because they have lost all hope in the situation or people who are able to influence the situation. Having reached hope’s end they find themselves left with difficult and destructive options. The birth of hope lead me to an even greater tutor toward wisdom.
- Checkpoint 3 – Trust. Hope births trust. The moment my hope in God was restored I began to trust in His good for me and His love over me, Melissa and my family.
- Checkpoint 4 – Peace. Peace is the place in which we were originally designed to live and the place from which a flourishing life is birthed! God’s very presence is peace. He is the embodiment of peace. Our Messiah – Christ of God – is called peace in Ephesians 2. Peace is not a circumstance. Peace is a person. Such peace is also the personification of wisdom.
As I experienced pain and loss, I grew in wisdom and gained the gift of seeing God in the midst of all circumstance.
As we learn to find rest in the moments of pain and loss that every life offers, and rely on the ancient wisdom of the Gospel, we find that we become a person whom others seek and trust to lead, counsel and guide toward a flourishing and fully lived life.
Consider Job’s journey. In Chapter 3 Job literally prays that the day of his birth be cursed, erased from existence.
After this Job opened his mouth and cursed the day of his birth. And Job said: “Let the day perish on which I was born”
He prayed to die. Sometimes death is a terrible mercy for the deeply wounded in this life.
Fast forward thirty – nine chapters through the intense trauma, confusion, mourning and rebuke to chapter 42 and we hear an entirely different perspective leap from the mouth of Job. A perspective that looks like the birth and growth of wisdom. In Job 42, 1 – 2 we read,
Then Job answered the Lord and said: 2 “I know that you can do all things, and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted.
In the book of Job wisdom, this knowledge gained through experience, is discovered in the midst of dreadful and unrelenting circumstances.
What is wisdom?
Wisdom is the gift of slowing the frenetic pace of life down to a rhythm which opens one up to the presence of God. A rhythm which awakens our awareness of where He is as we prayerfully discern where He is heading!
What type of experiences provide wisdom?
This question leads us to the topic of next week’s post
Disrupting to Renew,