But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and ]without reproach, and it will be given to him” (James 1:5, NASB). I may be wearing God’s patience thin by my continual requests, because I surely feel like it is something I sorely lack.
I recently found a blooming Solomon’s Seal in my shade garden. The pretty, variegated green and white leaves are stunning by themselves, and I honestly didn’t know they sported pendulous little flowers in the springtime. What a charming little plant! It shares a name with the wisest man that ever lived, known for a characteristic that I desperately want to develop.
A local radio talk show host runs an ad for his show with an interesting verbal commentary. Let me paraphrase; “How do you get good judgment? Experience. How do you get experience? Bad judgment.” This may not be verbatim, but his point is that you don’t get wisdom easily; it is a learned behavior, an acquired attribute.
Unfortunately, this type of learning comes about in a painful fashion. God gave Solomon his wisdom because he did not ask for all the selfish things that are normally sought after – wealth and power. As a bonus, Solomon also received great wealth and power, and his kingdom lives on in history with grand legends of its splendor.
We, however, do not have wisdom miraculously endowed upon us. Some people are more naturally wise than others. Me? I generally have to learn from my mistakes. It would be nice to get wisdom simply handed to me by God, either like Solomon or like some wonderful friends I have. I seem destined to learn the hard way; from making mistakes. At least I DO learn from them, so maybe it’s not so bad.
Here is something to consider, if you have a similar learning style. If you’re making mistakes, it means you are out there, trying. Less activity would allow fewer mistakes, but it won’t get you anywhere. The more you fail, the more you must be trying to do something worthwhile. Like they say about the turtle, he would never get anywhere without sticking his neck out!
This concept hit home one time when Marek, a family friend, was trying to fix our dining room chandelier. He worked tirelessly for hours, and when I expressed discouragement, he cheerfully stated that he was making progress. He knew a few more ways that weren’t going to work, which then narrowed down the possible solutions. That attitude toward failure impressed me. It was really an attitude toward success, and in due time our lights were working again! Now, Marek’s problem was not a lack of wisdom, but lack of experience with that particular challenge. He overcame because he persevered.
We should ask for wisdom, but we must also continue with worthwhile activities, which will give us experience that brings wisdom.
For many years I had wanted a shade garden. This year was the first time this dream has come close to a reality. Solomon’s Seal was a little native plant that had struggled along for a few years. Like the legendary wisdom of Solomon, the plant is a testament to the effectiveness of nurturing, whether it is wisdom after many mistakes, or of a shade-loving plant just hanging on until it can thrive.
While our wisdom is growing, let’s not skimp on the “fertilizer.” Feed your wisdom! Study “the sacred writings which are able to give you the wisdom that leads to salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus” (2 Timothy 3:15).