Welcome to Proverbs 365! This blogging project is my attempt to read one chapter of Proverbs daily and then share a piece of wisdom or lesson learned from within that daily chapter. Proverbs are God’s version of daily Best Practices: they help us through good times and bad. When life becomes stressful, Proverbs are there to help us make better choices. Feel free to join me in Proverbs 365–either on your blog or by leaving your daily Proverbs lesson in the comments below!
This morning as I was running around I turned on Pandora to my favorite worship ‘channel.’ I was listening and singing as I got going for the day. An old Jars of Clay song came on, and I didn’t really notice it–I sang it out of habit, as one I know very well. (Jars of Clay is one of my all-time favorite groups.) Suddenly I sat down and realized what I was singing:
“Dear God, surround me as I speak.
The bridges that I cross are weak.
And the frustrations fill the void that I can’t solely bear.
Dear God, don’t let me fall apart.
You have held me close to you
But I have turned away, in search of answers I can’t understand.
They say that I can move the mountains, and send them falling to the sea.
They say that I can walk on water, if I would follow and believe.
With a faith like a child.”
I am so THERE. I’ve been asking God for guidance and wisdom as I cross several bridges in my life. I want the faith of a child, but I tend to go and do what I want, in search of answers I say I want God to provide, but in reality I want the answers I want. Doesn’t that make sense? I began musing on what ‘faith like a child’ looks like. So I open up Proverbs 8 for the day, and find this:
1 Does not wisdom call out?
Does not understanding raise her voice?
2 At the highest point along the way,
where the paths meet, she takes her stand;
3 beside the gate leading into the city,
at the entrance, she cries aloud:
4 “To you, O people, I call out;
I raise my voice to all mankind.
The two don’t seem all that related. But they are. Oh, how God weaves the lessons of life together in so many layers and teachers!
How do children learn? They follow the adults around them. They trust that they have the knowledge, the wisdom and the guidance they need. Be it parents, siblings, teachers, pastors or other adults, kids follow those around them with an almost blind trust. We send our children to school, where teachers daily indoctrinate them with so much more than reading, writing and arithmetic. There at school children learn social norms, they learn wise patterns of behavior, they learn how to work in groups, how to defer to others, how to follow the example of those around them, and basic skills for life. They follow them daily. They have faith in those placed in leadership that they know what they are teaching them.
Proverbs is saying that the ultimate teacher is there in the streets, calling out, begging us to follow and imitate. God has sent wisdom here to us. In fact, many theologians and scholars believe that Proverbs 8 is about Jesus–that Jesus is the wisdom of the Lord that has been there since the beginning of time. We have the ultimate teacher right here, telling us how to behave and what to do. We have the textbook–the bible. We have the teacher–Jesus. We have the classroom–the body of Christ.
Are we following like a child? Are we taking advantage of these resources? Are we immersing ourselves in these, allowing God to lead us by example? Or are we out trying to do it on our own, thinking we can figure out what we should do on our own? Are we out there thinking we can hear God’s voice, God’s ways and God’s will without being in the community of believers? If we are, we are fooling ourselves. Look at children–they learn from others. Who are you learning from? Who is your mentor? Who are your peers?
For the past year we’ve taken a break from community group at church. We’d been in one for seven years; I’d led one for four years. We needed a break–as a family, we needed that time to ourselves for a bit. But after a year, I have begun to feel like God is saying it is time. It is time to find that place where I have people surrounding me demonstrating the life and walk of the wisdom of God. I can’t find the answers to my life’s dilemmas on my own. I have to do it in a community of believers, who are there week in and week out. People who know me beyond the barriers and pictures I put up.
Okay God. I’m listening.