Seeking Wisdom

There are a thousand hacking at the branches of evil to one who is striking at the root.–Henry David Thoreau, author and poet

The king said to Daniel, whose name was Belteshazzar, “Are you able to make known to me the dream which I have seen and its interpretation?” Daniel answered before the king and said, “As for the mystery about which the king has inquired, neither wise men, conjurers, magicians nor diviners are able to declare it to the king. However, there is a God in heaven who reveals mysteries, and He has made known to King Nebuchadnezzar what will take place in the latter days.” Daniel 2:26-28a (NASB)

We named our GPS navigational system Lady Catherine. Her title and British accent made us feel dignified and wealthy as we navigated our way on trips. There was a bit of a problem, however. Lady Catherine was not always correct in her mapping!

When traveling in unfamiliar territory, it is imperative that we have an accurate sense of the direction in which we should be heading; if we aren’t careful, we may find ourselves driving into someone’s front porch! The same principles apply to a spiritual wilderness. If we have never been to a particular place, losing our way is easy—especially in stormy weather.

The Bible As Our Guide?

I understand that people often refer to the Bible as a “spiritual roadmap for life,” but what exactly does that mean? There are times when I feel as though I need a roadmap simply to navigate the pages of the Bible.

Inspired by God through heavenly wisdom, the Bible is not a book that we can figure out with our own human ability—no matter how intelligent we may be. The Creator of the Universe does not live on the same natural plane as humankind. This means that seeking God’s wisdom needs to be a top priority for all who desire to see His goodness. When we rant and rave that Christianity doesn’t make sense, it is only because we are blind to the dynamic operation of God’s benevolent kingdom.

Daniel distinguished himself—even under the threat of death—not due to any measure of personal intelligence, but because of his humble, persistent pursuit of God’s wisdom. The results were far- reaching. Through the midst of his pain, an entire nation of exiles found hope.

We All Need Wisdom!

Revelation of God’s wisdom is essential to personal growth because the bad fruit we see in our lives does not always resemble the root from which it springs. It is sometimes difficult to accept, but many of our current issues are simply the results (fruit) of processing past struggles in an unhealthy manner.

Let us suppose that I have a problem with anger and lose my temper more often than I care to admit. My focus would be on my bad temper and how to manage it more effectively, yet the root of the issue may go back many years to a dysfunctional childhood upbringing. As I fervently seek God’s wisdom—giving Him the freedom to serve as my Master Counselor—He will open my eyes to the root issues involved. I will then be in a position where I can prayerfully process those negative past experiences through the eye of faith, immersed in His faithful love.

As a general rule, it is healthy to have others help us process our ongoing struggles. Whether a counselor, pastor, or trusted friend(s), we would do well to open our hearts to those who can provide both loving support and wise counsel. Unfortunately, circumstances do not always provide the luxury of godly counsel, and, ultimately, the input and support of others will have virtually no benefit if we are not personally seeking after God with our entire hearts.

Seeking Wisdom

This is where a voluntary wilderness experience, such as a personal retreat, can prove invaluable. I have received untold benefit from seasons of fasting and prayer through which I reorient my heart toward God, diligently praying to know Him and His ways.

It may well be worth skipping a meal, or turning off your favorite television show to cry out in prayer for insight and understanding with regard to your circumstances. God’s wisdom is our tree of life! Not only will it help us to make sense of the course of our lives, but in its leaves we will find the healing balm of heaven.

This post is drawn from Chapter Six of Bob’s devotional: Champions in the Wilderness—Fifty-Two Devotions to Guide and Strengthen Emerging Overcomers.