“Whence then cometh wisdom? and where is the place of understanding? Job 28:20 (KJV)
I never liked school when I was growing up. I was very shy and introverted. But strangely, I realize (three academic degrees later), that I have always loved learning. I soaked up every word my teachers and professors spoke and I thoroughly enjoyed my writing assignments. Acquiring new skills and learning new ideas fascinated me. I can’t explain it–learning was my “thing.”
As the years progressed, I thought age, education, and maturity were somehow connected and intertwined. Not! I thought the older you “got” the smarter you “got.” I believed what you learned in books would automatically cause you to “know better” and to “do better.” After all, I was “bright,” as my professors used to tag me. More importantly, I had lots of experience, and as the kids would say, “I had been there and done that.” “Experience is the best teacher.” Right? No one could tell me anything. (Not even my beloved grandmother). I thought I knew it all! But someone wisely said, “it’s what you learn after you know it all that counts.” What is it that makes children think they know more than their parents? What is it that makes us think wrinkles and grey hair equal common sense? What is it that makes us think because we meet a certain age that we suddenly become wise? Ever heard of “an old fool”? What is it that makes the creäture think he is greater than his creator? What is it that makes us think more highly of ourselves than we ought, and that growing old is growing up?
It was not until I was better than half of a century old that I truly understood the essence of wisdom. It has nothing to do with age, in fact, “one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day” 2 Peter 3:8. It has nothing to do with making our own way or ways, when plainly the scripture says,”He hath showed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God” Micah 6:8. But wisdom has everything to do with knowing the one who is omniscient and knows everything. None of the lessons I have learned was written in books. My mistakes and failures were my life lessons. My painful experiences were the teaching moments that made me stronger, wiser, and that drew me closer to the Lord.
I always thought I would be retired by this season of my life until I finally understood that with God there is no such thing. What I now know best is what was written years ago,”Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding.” Proverbs 4:7 Gratefully, I no longer think of retiring, I am too busy sowing seeds for the plentiful, spiritual harvest that awaits far too few laborers. Clearly, Marie Von Ebner-Eschenbach was right, “In youth we learn — in age we understand.”