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Thursday, July 05, 2007

Wisdom's Price

Some years ago I began to notice something about myself which seemed rather odd. Certain of my human characteristics seemed to run deeper in me than in those around me. It wasn't about thinking myself inferior or superior to others. But I was definitely seeing myself as being different from those around me. I didn't quite know what to do with that ... so I just studied it.

One of my earlier conclusions was that obese people have more intense feelings than other people. My wife, who has never been obese, was quick to point out the folly in that thinking! Then I began to think that perhaps God was doing something with me that He may not be doing with others.

At one point, I even tried to gauge my thoughts, feelings and perspectives against those around me --- hoping to find that they really weren't all that different. But this too turned out not to be the case. What seemed different in me actually was different.

Over the years, I have finally come to a better conclusion. Jesus told us in Matthew 7, "seek and you will find." I think my process of studying the phenomenon and seeking answers through God's Word eventually led me to what I was looking for --- and understanding of why what is --- is. I know what's different about me today, and more importantly, I know why.

King Solomon asked God for wisdom (2 Chronicles 1:7-12). As a result, the Bible tells us that he became the wisest man in the world (1 Kings 4:29-34). That alone impresses me. I wonder how much wisdom the wisest man in the world has! At any rate, we know from reading his writings in the Bible that King Solomon was a very intense student of life. He was transparent about his own lessons in life. In fact, he took stock of his life with humility and repentance ... owning up to his own mistakes.

The primary writing of King Solomon that I am most intrigued with is the book of Ecclesiastes. Here he writes with what may seem to be a cynical or negative point of view. Take Ecclesiastes 1:13, where he says, "... God has dealt a tragic existence to the human race." All things considered, I think I have to agree with King Solomon. I look at the story of creation in Genesis and wonder why. I want to ask, "God, did you know it would turn out like this? If so, then why did you do it?" Alas, that's a question that can only be answered as we contemplate the nature and character of God. We might not be able to totally figure this out --- but we can have confidence in the fact that the question does have an answer.

So, back to the depth of emotions and perspectives. King Solomon, in all his God-given wisdom makes a point that particularly catches my attention. In Ecclesiastes 1:17-18, he explains, "Look, I am wiser than any ... so I worked hard to distinguish wisdom from foolishness. But now I realize that even this was like chasing the wind. For the greater my wisdom, the greater my grief. To increase knowledge only increases sorrow."

What King Solomon was saying is that the more you understand the greater your pain and difficulty. For example, the more you know, the more imperfection you see around you, and the more you observe, the more evil becomes evident. As you set out to find the meaning of life, you must be ready to feel more, think more, question more, hurt more and do more --- than others around you. I've always been an intense student of life myself. Finally, I've found an explanation to what I considered an odd phenomenon.

Yes, Jesus told us, "seek and you will find." He did not say what you would find. Apparently you will find more than what you are looking for. As I reflect on that though, I realize it couldn't be any other way. It would be impossible for God to grant us wisdom without the price that it inherently carries.

So the next time you begin to wonder if you might perhaps have a deeper level of thinking, seeing, feeling, hurting, or discerning than others around you --- be encouraged. It just may be that God is granting you wisdom!

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