“When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom.” Proverbs 11:2 (NIV)
Often the people who have the most wisdom have experienced the most humility. Or sometimes even the most humiliation. A wisdom like none other can arise from those hard places that bring us low. Wisdom that’s been unearthed in the messy, mud-puddle places of life. When this kind of wisdom sits in the heart of a person who is vulnerable enough to drop their pride and share what they know, that’s a gift — a gift I desperately need when going through some stuff.
I’ll never forget one year when I needed someone with some of that hard-earned wisdom. One of my college-aged kids did something that completely stunned me. And I was two days away from leaving to speak at one of the biggest events of my life when I found out.
My first instinct was to cancel the trip. I curled up in my bed and cried.
I finally mustered the energy to open my computer and figure out how to word my cancellation email. I’d never canceled an event before, so I whispered a prayer asking God to please confirm He was okay with me canceling.
That’s when I saw an email telling me another speaker had canceled from this event, and they now requested I do two keynote messages. Are you kidding me? I’m thinking I will not even be able to deliver one message, much less two!
I knew I needed to stand on the wisdom from someone else who’d gone before me. Someone who had been through some stuff with her kids and still had to find the courage to speak.
So I called another speaker whom I knew had some wisdom found in those places of humility and humiliation. It wasn’t an easy call to make. I cringed at how raw and exposed this admission made me feel. But I knew I was safe with her because we’d had a conversation years ago when she shared some of the less-than-perfect dynamics in her family.
I called. And her words were a gift.
She was generous with her transparency. She assured me I wasn’t alone with words like, “Me too,” “I know,” and “We’re going through our own hurts and disappointments even right now.” There was not a drop of disgrace directed toward me in her voice. It was interesting that I’d read Proverbs 11:2 just that morning: “When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom.”
Yes, I knew from where her wisdom came.
She settled my wildly beating heart: “You’re not alone, Lysa. The grace our audiences need is the same grace we must walk in daily. Let this hurt work for you, not against you. Go. You must go.”
I knew she was right. Wise. I stood on her wisdom and replied that I would do both keynotes. Then I called and informed my adult child that we were going to do this trip together.
We traveled to the event together. We walked through the hard place together. And in the midst of being humbled, I discovered my own hard-earned wisdom.
Wisdom is our silver lining. Wisdom helps us not repeat the mistakes we’ve made but rather grow stronger through them.
How do we find it? We come to the Lord and ask Him for it. We set aside our excuses, our habits, our justifications and whisper, “I need Your perspective, God. I come before You and humbly admit my desperate dependence on You.”
Then we can start to understand what James was talking about when he instructs us to “consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds” (James 1:2, NIV).
Doesn’t that sound like a contradictory statement? Joy from trials? Until we realize the author’s telling us to consider it as “pure joy.” In other words, through a lens of wisdom, look for joy in this unlikely place of trial. And then Scripture reveals the reason: “Because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything” (James 1:3-4, NIV).
So, yes, I can now consider all this and find pure joy when I face trials. And I can gain wisdom in the midst of it all — wisdom I need, wisdom I can use to make even better decisions in the future, and wisdom others will need that I now have to give.
Dear Lord, thank You that You give us the silver lining of wisdom when we have hard times. Please bring people into my life I can learn from and people to whom I can pass on the wisdom that I learn along the way. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
TRUTH FOR TODAY:
Proverbs 19:20, “Get all the advice and instruction you can, so you will be wise the rest of your life.” (NLT)
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REFLECT AND RESPOND:
Send a note of thanks to someone who’s been a voice of wisdom in your life. Prayerfully ask the Lord to help you be a humble voice of wisdom to those who need it.
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