"We must be willing to let go of the life we planned so as to have the life that is waiting for us."
E. M. Forester
Part One of Two
She walks with honor. I wonder at the poise and skill with which it graces her. More than dignity, it is a purification of senses and an ease of kinship with her heavenly Father. Her nature is effortless beauty, within, without, molded by hours of prayer, shaped by study of scripture, come from years in a refiner's fire, a chosen furnace of afflictions, deemed for a vessel to be polished and reserved for her Master's employment.
And this noble vessel, free from splints of wood, shreds of hay, and stalks of stubble, is a sparkling masterpiece of humility, whose words and life speak purity, power, truth, and love for lives destined for their own furnaces, their personal destinies with the heavenly Father, their particular lonely hours in His garden, their own minds clothed with His word.
Have you met one like her? Do you know one who walks her way? A true token of grace, embellished with ribbons of righteousness and a quick word of truth that melts hearts like whipped honey? A woman who carries sensibility and Christian love like dozens of Damask roses, ready at once to give all and receive little? Whose very paths, gilt with hope, pursues what is pure, perseveres in all, holds peace fast, disdains every evil, sees all good, cleaves to the meek, appeals to be strong, with faith seeks, with authority binds riveting seams, with trust rests, with joy believes, with comfort assures? In truth proclaims? Have you seen her? Do you know one like her? Do you seek her? Do you hope to find her?
She is to be treasured. She is to be sought. She is to be found. She is to be kept. "Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom, and in all your getting, get understanding. Exalt her and she will promote you. She will bring you honor when you embrace her. She will place on your head an ornament of grace; a crown of glory she will deliver to you" (Proverbs 4:7-9).
Many times I have read these words with great desire and affection. Many times I have read these words with longing and frustration, hoping for a portion of such grace, a morsel of this divine gift, for while often in need of it, I have, too, been often in want of wisdom. Reaching for peace in chaos, pining for a word from God in a present trial, grasping to speak comfort to another seeking counsel, hoping for "the" answer to what seems hopeless, searching for faith to withstand fiery darts, striving to scale slippery rocks to find refuge from the enemy, I have been left weary and without, lacking the perfect solution to the imperfectability of life's sweet wonders.
For too long, I was overcome with my own insufficiencies. I prayed for wisdom, looking for the gift, but stood ignorant of the precious map that would lead me to my treasure. While there is a specific gift of wisdom given by the Holy Spirit (I Corinthians 12:8), and while we are commanded to pray for wisdom (James 1:5), there is also a life of wisdom to be had. A route to this holy treasure to be followed. And this glorious, priceless treasure is the Lord Jesus Christ Himself and the beautiful walk we have with Him as we seek Him with our entire being. It is an eternal walk in a carnal world. It involves the high price of relinquishment, total surrender.
It carries with it the prize of a life of wisdom, one adorned with grace, purity, faith, hope, honor, and love. It creates a lovely work of art that is wise, not because one has the "right" answers, but because she has the "right" source, and she has followed Jesus and pursued His heart, His values, His word, His love, His life. The woman of wisdom, through giving herself, yields to God in every fiery furnace. She recognizes her own weaknesses and quickly confesses her needs to the Lord. She listens for God's voice in all situations, and still searches and believes and hopes and trusts, even when all is silence, and He does not say a word. Every deed she considers in light of His word. Every decision is important for pleasing the heavenly Father is just what Jesus did and would do.
The woman of wisdom is tall in faith, but humble in spirit; light in burdens, yet heavy with grace. She does not always put herself first, but willingly steps aside and moves for the good of another. Her marks are kindness; her law is love; her heart desires purity; her eyes seek truth. She may or may not be well-known; the wise woman may or may not be successful in this world. She may be rich, or she may be poor. The woman of wisdom may have great talent or possess none; may have friends or be alone. Perhaps she is a gifted teacher, or sings in the choir; maybe blessed in a thriving career, or a stay-at-home mom; perhaps she has the voice of angel, or is tone-deaf. The woman of wisdom may be infirm, healthy, married, single, widowed, divorced, childless, mother of few or many, educated, a high school drop-out, a born leader, the one who cleans the church building each week, or cares for little ones in the nursery every Sunday.
Every woman of wisdom is unique, but every woman of wisdom is beautiful and has much to give and share. Her light is ever glowing, as she waits, watches, day and night, on opportunity to serve, to pray, to wait, to love, to ponder God's word. And every woman who knows the Lord Jesus Christ can be a woman of wisdom. It is not beyond the reach of any, for Christ is always working in us, and He sculpts our lives with increasing purpose, as we, through the process of time, give more and more of ourselves to Him. Indeed, wisdom is a treasure to be won, and we will have a life of wisdom in due season if we continue in His grace and do not faint in our walk with Him (Galatians 6:9).
I pray for God's grace to hold fast this walk toward wisdom. It is not to be achieved as a medallion, but to be desired, searched, found, held with humility, and praised for the glory it brings to Jesus Christ. And God does not favor one of us above another. He is ready to give us as much as we are willing to receive, and He is ready to take as much as we are willing to give. What price will we pay for this treasure? What are we willing to give to apprehend this priceless way that will reward us with the invaluable gift of wisdom? It is the life of the blessed woman. Wisdom is your path to perfect peace. Wisdom will be for you an "ornament of grace."
In my post to follow, I plan to continue this thought, focusing on steps that help us reach the life of wisdom.
All scripture quoted is from NKJV.