Michelle finally stops waiting for wisdom and determines to do the best she knows how.
Turns out her decision was fine, but Michelle is now confused. Did God neglect his promise to give wisdom? Is wisdom the same as knowing beyond a shadow of a doubt what to do in a certain situation?
I used to think that wisdom was something that God sent (somehow) that communicated exactly what to do in any situation, that wisdom was essentially mistake-proof parenting. So I was confused when I would pray for wisdom and felt like God left me to do whatever I thought was best, when what I really wanted was to know what he wanted me to do.
What the young mother Michelle didn’t realize was that God DID give her wisdom. She didn’t understand how important the process of asking was. It reinforced her dependence on God, but God didn’t answer in a way that took away her responsibility to weigh the options, think about relevant scripture, and act. Young mother Michelle’s questions were a part of wisdom, as were her prayers, and so were her actions. Often we see how God has led this way when we look back.
- Far from being evidence of a problem, questions are evidence of a mind that is engaged. They remind us of our dependence on God. Questions keep us humble. They also can keep a young mother’s mind from stagnating when she hears toddler talk all day long, but that’s a side benefit. There’s a reason you see an emphasis on searching for wisdom [see Proverbs 2, for example]. Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. Proverbs 3:5
- Only recently have I learned that some wisdom questions take years to resolve. I have several that have been simmering in my mind since David was a baby, six and seven years ago. I’m beginning to suspect that some questions I have may never be completely answered while my children are young, and I’ve started wondering whether my job isn’t to focus instead on the tools my children will need to answer those questions for themselves as adults.
- Prayer is an essential part of wisdom. Humility is the beginning of wisdom, and God gives grace and mercy to the humble. When we think we know everything, when we have the confidence that we have all the answers (instead of the confidence that God’s way of leading is sufficient), we will find God opposing our efforts at parenting. Not knowing what to do is an excellent place to start the search for wisdom. Surely he scorneth the scorners: but he giveth grace unto the lowly. The wise shall inherit glory but shame shall be the promotion of fools. Proverbs 3:34-35
- Finally, action is an essential part of wisdom. As we put God first in the decision making process (honor the Lord with our first fruits, or seek ye first the kingdom of God), he promises to direct our paths. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. Proverbs 3:6 We can act humbly and yet confidently, knowing that as we seek God, he will correct our path. My son, despise not the chastening of the Lord; neither be weary of his correction: For whom the Lord loveth he correcteth; even as a father the son in whom he delighteth. Proverbs 3:11-12 We may try one thing to address a problem, find it inadequate, and then try another. This is the process of wisdom, not failure. Keep sound wisdom and discretion: Then shalt thou walk in thy way safely, and thy foot shall not stumble. When thou liest down, thou shalt not be afraid: yea, thou shalt lie down, and thy sleep shall be sweet. Proverbs 3:21, 23, 24
Wisdom is eternal. Why should we be surprised that it takes a lifetime to figure out? Yet it is a worthwhile study.