Adding Wisdom to Strength
As an often overwhelmed mother of many, I crave inspiration where I can get it. I’m also a word person, and a single word can sustain me for a long time.
While on my way to a family reunion with my younger kids, we visited a coal mine tour in Pennsylvania. I wanted them to have a sense of their family heritage, since my great-great-grandfather Heinrich Hess, a German immigrant, was a coal miner in that area.
In the gift store after the tour, I found a bin of engraved rocks with words on them. Many of them – such as “Organize” and “Simplicity” - appealed to me, but I decided to narrow my choice to a single one: “Wisdom.” Right now, wisdom is the crying need of my heart.
So today, as I unpacked our vacation treasures, I placed my “Wisdom” stone next to the “Strength” stone I had picked out last year on my birthday as a gift from my daughter. The juxtaposition of the two stones together reminded me of a key principle in life:
We need to always add wisdom to our strength.
There are so many things we can do, that we have the power to do. I am glad of that. In the past year, I have needed the strength of courage, energy, and focus to step up and do things that needed to be done. Strength is good, but we desperately need wisdom to make right choices and apply our strength to the right things. These are not always obvious, even when reading the Bible. The Holy Spirit can guide us more specifically as we listen closely with a yielded heart.
I sat yesterday to read my old leather bound Bible and write notes in my Scripture journal. I opened to 2 Corinthians 1, where I had left off my study, and read verse 12.
“Our conscience testifies that we have conducted ourselves in the world, and especially in our relations with you, in the holiness and sincerity that are from God. We have done so not according to worldly wisdom but according to God’s grace.”
I thought about this as I wrote:
“This is what I want to be able to say as a Christian. This requires consecration to God, and wisdom about what he requires. I need to think of this verse as I make decisions for the future, especially ones that affect other people. Some things may seem godly which are not. Some things may seem worldly which are not. What will bring the most glory to God? What is the best way to show his redemption and rescue in my life? How can I lead my children in the ways of the Lord?”
[Side note: Are you curious why I said, “Some things may seem godly which are not. Some things may seem worldly which are not”? We must not be naïve in our attempts to please God. In the garden of life, we need to be careful not to be snagged by the thorns, even ones that seem pious. Remember that Jesus himself said in Matthew 10:16, “Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves. Therefore be wise as serpents and harmless as doves.” You can read more at the bottom of this post: Follow the Way of Love.]
As I contemplate my future and the choices I need to make, I know I need both wisdom and strength. I want to live with sincerity and holiness in the midst of a world of heartache and confusion. Pray for me, will you? Write to me, and I'll pray for you, too!
Some of my favorite wisdom verses to ponder:
“Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show it by his good life, but deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom. But if you harbor bitter envy or selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth. Such “wisdom” does not come down from heaven, but is earthly, unspiritual, of the devil. For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice. But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. Peacemakers who sow in peace raise a harvest of righteousness.” James 3:13-18
“Now there lived in that city a man poor but wise, and he saved the city by his wisdom. But nobody remembered that poor man. So I said, “Wisdom is better than strength.” But the poor man’s wisdom is despised, and his words are no longer heeded. The quiet words of the wise are more to be heeded than the shouts of a ruler of fools.” Ecclesiastes 9:15-17
As Heinrich Hess wrote at the end of his 1886 memoir,
"At my confirmation I selected this verse, Psalm 143, verse 10, "Lord, teach me to do thy will for thou art my God. May your good spirit lead me on a smooth road." The Lord has lead me up to this point and I know that He will also lead me further on if I will only believe in Him. My wish and will is to make myself subordinate to Him and to be true to Him until my end."
Thank you, Heinrich. That's a wise word for me 128 years later in 2014.
Wisdom and strength,
P.S. You might also enjoy The Simple Yet Mighty Gifts of Acceptance & Affirmation and Dignity, Decisions, and Liberty of Conscience