07/21/15 – 208
So where does wisdom come from? Do we simply pray for it and wait? Can we start with ‘Wisdom 101’ at our local college? Oh, if it were only that simple. Some say that it automatically comes with age. In the book of Job, after He was struck with horrendous tragedy for no apparent reason, his ‘friends’ came and bestowed upon him some very unsolicited, unwanted, and unhelpful advice. This is part of his answer to them:
Job 12:12-13 “Is not wisdom found among the aged? Does not long life bring understanding?” 13 “To God belong wisdom and power; counsel and understanding are his.”
In other words, Job is telling them that they aren’t wise just because they’ve lived some years – wisdom must come from God and God alone.
If there is any truth in that wisdom is found among the aged, it is not so much because of the years (I know some older folks who do some very unwise things), but because of their life experience. Yet even experience in and of itself does not bring wisdom. There’s a tongue-in-cheek definition of experience that says ‘experience is that which enables us to recognize our mistakes when we make them again’. We had a saying in the fire service that some people have 30 years experience; some people have 1 year’s experience 30 times.
It kind of works that way spiritually also. Have you graduated from spiritual Kindergarten 20 or 30 times? Or have you taken those experiences, added them to the knowledge gained using your intellect and, through prayer, turned them into wisdom – practical ways to apply them to your life and to teach them to others. Practical ways to live out God’s purposes in this world. If you have – you are a truly wise person.
If in all your experience you haven’t yet put all this together, here’s the good news – it’s not too late! Although it’s usually better for us to learn our lessons immediately, we can go back in our memories (sometimes with a little help) and do some ‘what if….ing’
If I had handled this differently, how might it have turned out?
If I were advising my son or daughter in the same situation, what would I say?
That sort of thing. I’m not saying you can go back and make everything right – although in some cases you may be able to. What I’m saying is that you can learn from past mistakes, and become wiser for the future.
Let’s thank God today that He has given us the ability to learn from our mistakes, that He is willing to share His wisdom with those who want it for the best and simplest of purposes – to be like Him.