If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.
My problem (well one of them – don’t get me going) is that I sometimes seem to be thirty years behind everyone else. This week I discovered J I Packer’s “Knowing God”. I fear that one day when all the books are opened and all the scrolls are unrolled, when God is examining my life in the manner of Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood examining a particularly unappealing Banana Loaf, He will look at me and say, “you did quite well – you were always just that little bit behind everyone else.” Anyway – enough of my Judgement Day issues, I need to digress here. Do you know how much I paid for Mr Packer’s tome. Nothing! Not one of your English pounds. I downloaded it from a site Christianaudio It’s an excellent idea. I bang these books on the MP3 to listen to on the way to work and thus arrive marginally less grumpy than I was when I set out. They have loads of special offers but don’t just get the free stuff – I’m sure they have to eat as well.
So as I was saying before the digression overload. I excitedly mentioned this book to Head of House who, in what I thought was a quite dismissive way, pointed me in the direction of his own dog-eared copy while informing me that he thought that all serious Christians had this book. Pah!
Best story so far is about the wisdom of God. I am paraphrasing wildly as usual but he talks about us assuming that God promising to give us wisdom means that we sort of get invited in to the central signal box at a railway station and we get to see all the trains that are coming in and going out, where they have come from and where they are going and what trains we can expect to see in the future. In short, we sometimes think that the promise of wisdom means we get to know everything. In practise though , we just get given what we need to know. Some of it we should know anyway because it’s already there in the Word. It is a bit difficult though, especially in tough times, to give God the benefit of the doubt when we don’t know the circumstances. Why should it be OK to leave all the big wisdomy decisions to God about our lives?
If I could just add a an illustration of my own. A few years ago my chap and I visited New York. One day we set off to visit the Empire State building. Head of House had investigated the route and we set off whistling and swinging our arms. However (and yes it was my fault – I never denied that)
we I got a bit distracted by Bryant Park, where Woody Allen and Diane Keaton had posed so we got a bit lost. And we just couldn’t find the Empire State because New York is full of Skyscrapers! When you look up – that’s all you can see. It took us nearly an hour to get back on track and find it. It was a bit tense by then as well. As I said – I admit it was my fault!
The next night, we had a meal in the Windows on the World. At the top of the World Trade Centre, when you looked out of the window, the first thing you saw was THE EMPIRE STATE. Easy. The difference was perspective. When we were lifted above everything that was going on at ground level, the whole thing looked different. There were no things blocking our eyeline. That is where God is – high and lifted up. Knowing the past, the future, the beginning, the end. I get bogged down with all there is to do, to experience, to suffer, to enjoy. God looks with a different perspective. He sees where it is going and, having planned ahead for us, expects us to trust him with the big picture. We simply cannot un-entangle ourselves enough to see the whole picture, and there will be things that we will never know the reason for and many of these things will be – well – not good. We will never understand everything. The trick is, I think, to back away from knowing everything and to ask for wisdom for the day. Wisdom to make the most of every opportunity that presents itself in our lives. Wisdom for our next plan or next conversation. That is probably what is promised. Mind you I’m not saying this is what I do. I’m much more of a “Do as I say” rather than a “Do as I do” when it comes to this sort of stuff. More’s the pity.