Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Wisdom in Fear

Proverbs 2:2-6

Make your ear attentive to wisdom,
Incline your heart to understanding;
For if you cry for discernment,
[a]Lift your voice for understanding;
If you seek her as silver
And search for her as for hidden treasures;
Then you will discern the fear of the Lord
And discover the knowledge of God.

Lately my prayers have revolved much around wisdom.  Extremely difficult decisions have popped up in the last few weeks that threaten anxiety, rob me of joy, and make me lose sleep at night.  Being the coward that I am even the most benign of conflicts cause my chest to seize up and my stomach to drop.  With the stress of my current job and disappointment about particular aspects of my life there have been a few times where I have quite literally been brought to my knees, verbally crying out for wisdom and strength from the Lord; a good place to be, though very difficult.

Wisdom often seems an illusive thing, especially in terms of specific situations:  

Should I go after this job I know I would love but might not make enough money?  

Should I take a break from school to save a little money?  

Should I move?  

When seeking counsel objectivity is hard to find, for who among us can be truly objective?  Attempting to reason by your own counsel runs into the same problem, encountering emotion that causes great difficulty in separating what you feel from what you know to be right and true.  And latching onto this comes the panicked fear that if you make the "wrong" decision you will experience a fall from which there can be no recovery.

But I think that it is in the fear that the answer can be found.  Do I fear the future, the consequence of mistakes, the disapproval of others above all things, or do I fear the Lord?  In Proverbs we are told that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.  When I first read this years ago I couldn't understand it.  Fear seems like such a negative principle, something we should not apply to a loving God, but as He has grown me in my faith, my idea of fear has grown as well.  This fear is the knowledge of His sovereign control over the events of the world, the understanding of just how big He is, and the realization that in spite of these things (along with our own insignificance) He cares for us.  The God Who created all things from nothing and Who could destroy all things by the mere force of His will has condescended to have a relationship with us, has chosen to be our Father.  This is the beginning of wisdom.

Specific decisions?  Still hard.  Conflict?  Not sure I will ever be able to handle it all that well.  But I can fear the Lord and trust Him to lead me because He is faithful even when I'm not.

Proverbs 3:5-6Trust in the Lord with all your heart And do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He will make your paths straight.

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