Some knowledge is best discovered. Wisdom is like that. I’ve known some wise women, and I’m always amazed at how stingy they seem with advice. They listen, they smile, and they say encouraging things, but over the years it seems like they really don’t tell me all that I want to know. Is that my fault or theirs?
It’s no secret that I’m a better talker than listener. I have been working on improving my questioning skills for all of my adult life, it seems. I especially feel at a loss when I’m talking with a genuinely wise woman (older or younger, it matters not), and I don’t know how to draw out that wisdom. Just so you know that I’m still working on it, I told my children this week that I was praying that God would help me lecture less and listen more, and they snickered. Apparently I still have room to grow.
So, I’ve been brainstorming questions I have found that are helpful when I remember to ask them. As I talk with people, I’ve been the most encouraged when I’ve come away knowing more about what God is doing in someone else’s life. Some of these are questions I ask my children, and I’m often encouraged by their answers, too
- What scriptures do you think would help me make a good decision in my trial xyz? What principles might apply to my situation?
- Tell me about your salvation.
- Did you ever doubt your salvation? How did you resolve that?
- What difficulties did you encounter?
- What did God teach you through those difficulties?
- What scriptures and principles did God use to encourage you during trial or situation xyz?
- What is God teaching you right now?
- What scriptures have you been meditating on, and why?
- What do you do when you are discouraged?
- How can I pray for you this week?
What I have discovered is that I find deeply satisfying answers when God leaves me to indignantly muddle along on my own for a bit. I’m learning that wisdom is often best discovered, and the best mentors are the ones who point me in the right direction, give me a few places to start, and encourage me to find the answers.
But where shall wisdom be found? and where is the place of understanding?
Man knoweth not the price thereof; neither is it found in the land of the living.
The depth saith, It is not in me: and the sea saith, It is not with me.
It cannot be gotten for gold, neither shall silver be weighed for the price thereof.
It cannot be valued with the gold of Ophir, with the precious onyx, or the sapphire.
The gold and the crystal cannot equal it: and the exchange of it shall not be for jewels of fine gold.
No mention shall be made of coral, or of pearls: for the price of wisdom is above rubies.
The topaz of Ethiopia shall not equal it, neither shall it be valued with pure gold.
Whence then cometh wisdom? and where is the place of understanding?
Seeing it is hid from the eyes of all living, and kept close from the fowls of the air.
Destruction and death say, We have heard the fame thereof with our ears.
God understandeth the way thereof, and he knoweth the place thereof.
For he looketh to the ends of the earth, and seeth under the whole heaven;
To make the weight for the winds; and he weigheth the waters by measure.
When he made a decree for the rain, and a way for the lightning of the thunder:
Then did he see it, and declare it; he prepared it, yea, and searched it out.
And unto man he said, Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom; and to depart from evil is understanding. Job 28:12-28