One of my favorite Old Testament stories as a child was of Solomon asking God for wisdom.
“Seriously, Amanda?” you say. “You didn’t go for David and Goliath, or Elijah calling on God against the prophets of Baal, or maybe Moses parting the Red Sea?”
Nope. I liked the one where this dude asked to be super smart, and God said, “Yes, absolutely, you’ll be the savviest man who ever lived.”
Because did I ever want to be like that. And yes, it did relate to wanting to do everything the right way all the time. (For further interest in my deep-set psychoses, feel free to refer back to my article last month.) I hoped, perhaps, I’d have my own little verse of praise à la Abraham: “And Amanda was incredibly wise, and God credited it to her as righteousness.”
(Please stay with me; I promise I’m not a heretic.)
So, I prayed a similar prayer to Solomon’s as I bedded down each night: Lord, give me wisdom so I know how to handle what comes my way. (As a side note, you know how people say when you pray for patience God will likely give you situations to TEST that patience? Yeah. Don’t pray for wisdom unless you really want to look stupid in certain scenarios.)
It wasn’t a request completely devoid of virtue. Solomon himself extols the benefits of shrewd thought. Yet all the wisdom in the world does little good if you refuse to use it because of a cowardly heart.
What is the most desirable trait for a Christian to pursue? I thought if I prayed to know how to properly handle everything, I would – well – properly handle everything. But the wisdom of man isn’t even a lasting thing. (It doesn’t even make the top three.) Pursuing smarts at the cost of courage, confident faith, and abundant love? Where does that lead?
Let us look to the end of Solomon’s story. The king who knew from Whom wisdom comes, the king who gave sound poetry and reflection even the secular world knows and quotes to this day, caved to the idolatrous desires of his wives. Funny how you see another side to Biblical stories as you age. Wisdom, in the end, couldn’t save Solomon or even be his backbone.
Now here I am. Wiser for all the asking? Well, I know I sure think a lot, but, like Solomon in his final years, my thoughts stay sewed up tightly in a safe contemplative pouch. They don’t spill into actions or foster courage in my faith and convictions. I let the idols go up on the hillsides and do nothing more than watch them uncomfortably.
All those years maybe I should have prayed for a fearless heart to hold firm to boundary lines given to me in the first place (Psalm 16:6). Never too late to start, I suppose. *prepares for influx of situations that challenge my cowardice*