Be prepared. Be ready. In preparing for difficulty or danger we look to protect ourselves from harm. A security system and smoke detectors at home are examples. We study the best programs and products to make sure we are ready. But what happens when the unplanned or inexplicable happens? A family tragedy, lost job, or serious health problem. Our reaction can be fear, sadness or even anger. We may even be angry with God. I can remember praying for wisdom from God during a particularly difficult situation. Can we prepare in advance for these seemingly impossible challenges? From his book God’s Wisdom for Navigating Life, Tim Keller provides wise counsel:
Because wisdom comes not through acquisition of knowledge but through long experience and reflection, it takes years to produce. What happens, then, if suddenly you come to a crisis that demands great discernment and self-control? If you haven’t learned the hard-won habits of wisdom—of resting in Christ when other comforts are removed, of discerning choices among the bad, the good, and the best—you cannot suddenly develop them overnight, any more than you can get ready for the Olympics overnight.
John Newton wrote, “The grace of God is as necessary to create a right temper…on the breaking of a china plate as on the death of a loved one.” That is, only if we learn grace and wisdom in smaller disappointments will be ready for the great ones. In the crisis, you will long for wisdom, but it will not answer. “There are points of no return; when the storm is upon us, it is too late to seek shelter. Moments of decision pass and are gone forever. Timing is all.”
Are you devoting time to developing wisdom? Begin by assessing how much planned time you give to, first, Bible study and, second, personal accountability with Christian friends.
Lord, I know you won’t give me more than I can bear (1 Corinthians 10:13). But I can fail to put on all the spiritual armor you give me (Ephesians 6:10-18) and thereby put myself in harm’s way. Give me the real thing, the hard-won wisdom. I am ready to do what is necessary to receive it. Amen.
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