Friday, December 15, 2006

Did you ever ask God for wisdom? I know I have. I used to ask Him all the time for wisdom but lately, I've been a bit more cautious when it comes to my wisdom requests. You see, I ran across something in Scripture that made me stop and think. Ecclesiastes 1:18, "For in much wisdom is much grief, And he who increases knowledge increases sorrow."

Knowledge and sorrow go hand in hand, but does the sorrow actually come in being wise and seeing the foolishness of man around you? Or does sorrow itself bring wisdom? I think it is both, and so you see why I am a little leary of wisdom at the moment. I've asked God why hilarious laughter, sheer contentment, and endless joy can't make us wise, but so far, no response. I think He might be laughing at me; I don't know how wise I want to be, though, if it's going to hurt. Recently, I've been through a very painful episode--watching a whole lot of evil returned for good--and it's funny but I just don't feel much wiser. I'm waiting for it to hit me anytime now.

Have you ever watched while someone you loved was treated badly? Did you ever feel so powerless to stop it and so angry you wished you could materialize a foot in front of the person and pop him in the nose? Yes, that is how I've been feeling lately. I am in need of more wisdom, I guess, but I'm certainly not looking forward to it.

What do you do when you or someone you love is hurt? How do you deal with the unfairness of it all? My sweet niece, Amber, just sent me someone's insight into the heart of God--and it is wise, so I'm thinking this guy had his share of sorrow:

"God never conceals His expectations from us. We never have to guess how we should live.

In response to the misguided ways in which people sought to please God, the prophet Micah clearly explained what God does and does not expect. The people asked: Should we come to God with many offerings? Should we bring a thousand rams and ten thousand rivers of oil? Would God be pleased if we gave our firstborn child to Him to express our devotion? (Micah 6:6-7) Micah's response was straightforward: "He has shown you, O man, what is good."

Micah listed three things God desires:

First, He wants us to show justice. The desire to receive justice is not enough. We must also be absolutely just in the way we treat others. If we have given our word, we should keep it with complete integrity. If we have people working for us, we should treat them as fairly as Jesus would. We should act justly in every relationship.

Second, we are to love mercy. The knowledge that we have received undeserved mercy from God should motivate us to show mercy to others. We must resist the temptation to retaliate against those who have wronged us, choosing to show them mercy instead.

Finally, God requires us to walk humbly with Him. God does not ask us for spectacular acts of service --He asks for humility." ~Henry Blackaby

Justice, mercy, humility: three strong words of wisdom. I have not enjoyed being merciful, but I am happy to say that I was . . . and the person I love who was so terribly hurt has been merciful, too. (But I hate to admit that I'm still praying for a little payback in my weaker moments.) That's why it's great to have family and friends--and wise men--remind me that God has certain requirements and we had better do our best to fulfill them.

"Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, "Vengeance is Mine , I will repay," says the Lord." Romans 12:19

God has his reasons for allowing sorrow, and the gift of wisdom is one of them. There is comfort, though, in knowing you have fulfilled His requirements, and in knowing God will deal with those who have hurt you. He will repay.


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