Today’s reading: Genesis 48; Luke 1:39–80; Job 14; 1 Corinthians 2
I have been looking for wisdom most of my life. At first it was so that I might be considered smart or wise by others, later it was for wanting to distinguish myself in the halls of academia, and in the market place. Wisdom I believed (along with knowledge) would help me compete for prosperity and notoriety. I believed the more knowledge and wisdom I gained, the more worldly success I would attain, and to some extent this was true. As luck (or providence) would have it, being born in the twentieth century into a productive and well educated American family made my prospects for prosperity all the better — or so I thought. The pursuit of achievement sometimes drove me to exhaustion, and this clearly took my focus off things that mattered more, like loving God and others. There was no doubt I wanted to do things my way. Still at times I looked to God in the process for help. But the help I looked for was to get more of the things I wanted for me. Essentially, I just wanted help building my kingdom and was happy to have God’s help if necessary.
I’m not sure I can say exactly when the change took place for me. There were certainly moments, and seasons, where the light of truth seemed to get brighter in my misguided brain. But mostly it has been a process and a struggle with my flesh, like some great sports contest with momentum shifting many times. Recently the outcome of this game of life has become more certain for me despite my many struggles and poor choices. Through prayer and worship, studying God’s word, and in fellowship with other believers wisdom has crept into my life. Through the life and death and resurrection of Jesus my transformation was made possible, thank God!
Perhaps the better metaphor for this new life is climbing mountains. As I reach the peak, now I look out across the land, and off in the distance I clearly see the next mountain I must climb. The big difference in my new life is this; now the climb is mostly filled with joy which goes beyond any feeling of accomplishment. Once I reach the summit, any feeling of accomplishment is exceeded by the exhilaration of seeing the next mountain off in the distance. Wisdom tells me that in the challenge of the new mountain there is hope, and this hope is in the knowledge of the blessings from the transformation that awaits me.
Sure there are still dangerous moments and dark times, but more and more, each day I have come to rely on the Holy Spirit to guide my path. I am now more aware of the limitations of my knowledge and wisdom which pails in comparison to the wisdom from the presence of God’s Holy Spirit which has been proven over and over again.
When I read the passage today about Joseph traveling to see his ailing father and seeking Jacob’s blessing upon his two sons Ephraim and Manasseh, I was moved to tears thinking of my own sons and how much I hope to bless them, and for them to receive the blessing of my Heavenly Father. I’m not sure if these feelings represent the presence of the Holy Spirit, but they come at times when I’m thinking about the majesty of God and about the people I love. These are powerful emotions that correlate with the rare times that I am deeply focused on God and people, other than me. They rise up from some better place deep within, a place in my spirit where I believe God is able to dwell, if I am willing to allow it. This is a place of power, courage, strength, hope and freedom. It is a place that is prepared in my surrender, when I release my desire to control my destiny. It is a place of joy made ready by love.
God please help me to understand your plan for my life. I need your help to navigate between the world and your kingdom. I seek Your wisdom, not mine, and I long for your guidance, especially how I use my time. Help me invest in others, the lives of my family, good friends and those that you place in my path, directing me to serve. Help me build up and encourage the people that I have the privilege of interacting with — those who are close to me. Help me demonstrate your love through a life that points to you, glorifies you and demonstrates my openness to the incredible power and legacy of your wisdom. Let your Holy Spirit, in all your infinite wisdom, dwell within me and flow out from me, all the days of my life. Amen.