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‘I will be wise!’

“All of this, I examined with wisdom and I said, ‘I will be wise!” Yet, that was far from me. What exists is far — it is truly deep; who can discover it?”

(Ecclesiastes 7:23-24)

Isn’t it interesting that God often teaches us wisdom on his own terms rather than on our terms. How often we seek out wisdom and we try and make ourselves wise only to become fools in our living and actions. And, how often, when we least expect it, God brings things into our pathway that stretch us and make us wise when we least expect it. How often, also, we wish to grow in wisdom during easy and comfortable times but instead, God grows us through difficult and trying times. Indeed, God’s design and plan is far off from us and it is truly deep — who can know it on his own terms? No one but God.

I have always been struck by the language of James where he speaks of God giving wisdom to those who ask for it, yet, in the context of that very passage, James is also talking about suffering. So, in essence, what he is saying is that if we want to grow wise, ask knowing that wisdom and maturity of faith comes through suffering. So, what we are really asking for is that God would bring more suffering into our lives so that we might become wise. Who can know it?

Does this mean that we ought not pursue wisdom? Of course not. It just means that God works on his terms and not on ours.