Remember that exultant feeling of suddenly stumbling across an item you had misplaced, hunted for and reluctantly deemed gone forever? You looked hard to no avail, and then, there it was, waiting innocently in the most unlikely of places. Whether it is an important correspondence, a personal memento, a family heirloom, or something as prosaic as your key-chain, the rush is the same. Nothing like the triumph of locating a favorite sterling earring kicked under the table, against all odds. What was lost is found, and there is great joy.
Life can hand you unexpected motherlodes, but the problem is, most of us don’t recognize the actual moment of windfall. Unless it’s something like money, good fortune or answered prayer, the miracle can get lost in the paperwork and we fail to recognized it in a timely manner. We look back later with chagrin. It’s trite but true that every cloud has a silver lining, but here in the night blindness of a pandemic year, we are thinking mostly about the painful losses, not what it might have brought us.
It’s not surprising we’re collectively experiencing a sharp sense of desolation – a profound feeling of bereavement. We’re mourning all kinds of direct and indirect forfeitures. Amid the unfathomable loss of life, there’s the lesser defeats; injury, harm, deficits and debts. We lost a lot, and the full extent of the damage is still being assessed.
But let’s be honest. Three-quarters of human endeavor related to ambition, achievement, stock-piling, merchandising and networking didn’t survive the 2020 conflagration because it was spiritually inferior substance. Sooner or later, it was all going to burn. A lot of what went up in smoke was, as Solomon describes, pure narcissism. We simply got a preview of coming events.
Vanity of vanities, says the Preacher; Vanity of vanities, all is vanity.
What profit has a man from all his labor In which he toils under the sun? Ecclesiastes 1:2-3 NKJV
Most homo sapiens needed this little walk over hot coals to deeply examine where life, passion and time are being spent. The rebellion, status-seeking and lotus-eating of this perverse generation is actually getting us nowhere. Doesn’t impress the Lord either, hence His lack of speed in fishing us out of our current dilemma.
Not to be an annoying Pollyanna, but lately my focus has shifted away from what has been lost, to what has been found, and there are plenty of up-sides. That which is indeed worthy of our time, attention and respect has emerged in glorious, supernatural colors this season. Families were spotlighted again. Acknowledging our own presumption, we may just have found wisdom. Wisdom is one of those incredibly precious substances you don’t realize you’re missing until it’s too late. Relocating it is a serious victory, because it is illusive, rare, and much to be prized.
From where then does wisdom come? And where is the place of understanding? It is hidden from the eyes of all living, And concealed from the birds of the [a]air. Destruction and Death say, ‘We have heard a report about it with our ears.’ God understands its way, And He knows its place. Then He saw wisdom and declared it; He prepared it, indeed, He searched it out. And to man He said, ‘Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom, And to depart from evil is understanding.’ Job 28:20-28
Wisdom is the privilege and ability to look at life through the eyes of God. It’s seeing a situation from His eternal viewpoint, which changes how we walk on the earth. Wisdom is the treasure in the field (Matt 13:44), the pearl of great price (Matt 13:46) and the unique opportunity that comes through faithful asking, seeking, knocking (Matthew 7:7). Much more than mere intelligence, it releases the acumen of supernatural reason and the logic of heavenly places. Prudence, discretion and humility overtake simple thinking. Intuition, revelation and integrity are sharpened. When it finally dawns on you that your life does not really belong to you, you are wise. That’s the motherlode.
Maybe, in Covid 19 days, our 'Eureka' moment was seeing our first love again. Maybe the pearl of great price was the capacity to rediscover ourselves, our authentic voice and the honesty of our passionate desire. Over the shouting of ego, we may yet hear the clear call of the Kingdom. Just like the Gospel stories of the lost coin, the lost sheep and the lost son, losing something dear is really the gift of re-orientation. Lord, here at the end, help us find the joy.
So shall the knowledge of wisdom be unto thy soul: when thou hast found it, then there shall be a reward, and thy expectation shall not be cut off. Proverbs 24:14
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