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Posts Tagged ‘wisdom’

Our final words, when we know they are such, are the most profound, the ones we want to be remembered by, the things we want our loved ones to always know and hold on to.  No one ever reminds someone to brush their teeth or add something to the shopping list when they’re on their death bed.  “Oh, by the way, we’re out of bread.”  Doesn’t happen.

There are a few chapters devoted to Jesus’ last words to His disciples.  Among them is a curious little passage about the possibility of them falling away, of not continuing their life of faith and devotion to God.  Come on!  They had just witnessed miracles, heard Jesus’ revolutionary teachings, seen the unlovable loved, the hopeless satisfied.  Their world was rocked, and they were part of it.  Fall away?  Never!  Never.  Never?

Here’s the thing.  Jesus knew they had expectations of what God should do, of how the world should look now that Jesus had come and changed everything.  And He knew of the confusion and disappointment that was about to ensue when their expectations would be unmet.  And who could blame them?  The Man who came to save the world would be killed and things would go back to how they once were, or worse.  Where’s the sense and hope in that?  And so He told them to hang on, the story was not over.

I see this even today.  “If I pray hard enough God will do what I think He should.”  Or, “I will devote all my time/money/energy to charity and God will provide for my family.”  Oh, really?  Here’s how I see it:  He put a lot in His book about wisdom.  Yes, faith is involved, most definitely.  But faith is reliance and trust in Him, not our methods.  And if we trust Him, we will trust in what He says.  If He says we are to use wisdom, then that becomes an act of faith.

Back to the falling away.  Too many have expectations of God that are simply unfounded.  And so it’s no wonder there is a disconnect between their belief and their reality.  When they finally are willing to admit it, a decision must be made:  either continue in the frustration of unmet expectations, walk away from God altogether (wondering if there even is a God), or come to an understanding of who He really is and what living out our faith is really all about.  But let’s stop pretending.  Oh, and don’t forget wisdom.  Then see what God does.

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I had a really big decision to make.  It was life-changing.  It was the kind of thing that, once it was made, there would be no going back.  It would change everything.

Most days, I was very enthusiastic.  Everything pointed to YES .  It seemed everything in my life had been building up to this very thing, yet there was a nagging sense at times that perhaps I was reading too much into circumstances.  Perhaps this would be a diversion that would end up in disaster.  After all, my life at present was very satisfying and purposeful.  Why change all that?

It was during this quandary that I encountered a stranger who came to change the way I think about decision-making.  We were seated next to one another on a flight from Buffalo to San Diego.   He had no idea the dilemma I was facing when he began talking about the will of God.  Imagine!  He introduced himself as a Christian counselor in San Diego, and for some reason began telling me how he thinks we Christians drive ourselves nuts trying to make perfect decisions. 

He said that we put these choices into the wrong categories.  We think of them as “right or wrong,” when we should in fact think of them as “good or bad,” or even ”good or better.”   His idea is that we stop looking for that one perfect choice, and just use wisdom and go with what seems to be a good choice.  There will be adjustments along the way, as circumstances and further information come into play, but we will be moving in a good direction.

Now, God says a lot about wisdom in His book.  Wisdom, knowledge, and understanding are all through the Bible, as if He expects us to learn them and use them.  Understand this:  He won’t bless us because we made the perfect choice, (hooray for us; we’re smart) but because we belong to Him and He loves us.  His intentions toward us are good!  We can walk in freedom, freedom to choose well, freedom to make adjustments, freedom to learn as we go.  We can rest in that.

So what did I do?  I carefully but wholeheartedly made that decision on which there was no going back, the one I was tending toward in the first place.  It was not perfect, but it was very good.

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