Recently we celebrated the 80th birthday of my Mom. It was a wonderful and fun evening as we honored her. In the days before it I found myself reviewing the years of my youth. I had specific memories of my parents raising me, my sister and brother. My heart was filled with gratitude for the foundation they had given to us.
A mother has a vital role in the home. Her strong influence, for good or bad, is recorded in the Bible.
“Every wise woman buildeth her house: but the foolish plucketh it down with her hands.” (Proverbs 14:1)
In recent posts I have been developing this idea of how specifically a mother shapes and builds her family. (The same principles apply to a father, too). Here we continue the importance of wisdom in building a family and how it is cultivated.
All of us have appreciated our parents more as we have matured and realized their sacrifices on our behalf.
“When I was a boy of 14 my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to be 21, I was astonished at how much the old man had learned in seven years.” (Attributed to Mark Twain)
As a father I have valued wisdom and sought to discover it. Often over lunch dates with Paula our conversation would drift to an area where we needed direction concerning our children. When we left the restaurant the solution wasn’t within our grasp, but our pursuit of the answer had begun. We desperately needed the wisdom of God.
Where does a parent go for wisdom?
The most fundamental means to gain wisdom is through the Word of God. As we read the Bible there are commandments God expects us to obey. While the Bible doesn’t give direct commandments to cover every issue we will face, there are principles given to guide us. God’s way is always the wise way. We cannot violate the design of the Designer and not expect painful consequences.
But sometimes we need direction from God on how to apply a specific principle in a unique situation. Where to go to college? Who to marry? Which job to take? What car to buy? Should I have the surgery? Is it time to move?
When the Bible doesn’t speak to the issue, God has promised to give us wisdom in answer to prayer.
The story is told of King Solomon (a man known for his wisdom and insight) where he had to make a difficult decision. When he came up with the solution it was practical and solved the problem. You can read about it in I Kings 3.
How was he able to respond with insight that was remarkable on short notice? The reason the king was able to respond with wisdom is because he had specifically asked God for it.
“And now, O LORD my God, thou hast made thy servant king instead of David my father: and I am but a little child: I know not how to go out or come in. And thy servant is in the midst of thy people which thou hast chosen, a great people, that cannot be numbered nor counted for multitude. Give therefore thy servant an understanding heart to judge thy people, that I may discern between good and bad: for who is able to judge this thy so great a people? And the speech pleased the Lord, that Solomon had asked this thing.” (I Kings 3:7-10)
He was humble in acknowledging his lack of wisdom and the Lord was pleased with his request for it. God delights when we do the same thing.
One of the most vital lessons we can ever learn is that wisdom comes in answer to prayer.
“For the LORD giveth wisdom: out of his mouth cometh knowledge and understanding.” (Proverbs 2:6)
“If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.” (James 1:5) The expression “upbraideth not” means that God doesn’t rebuke us or become weary when we call upon Him. We are His children and He wants us to have guidance as we navigate this life. It is a promise – “…(wisdom) shall be given him”.
When Paula was delivering one of our children there was a problem and she became frantic and pulled me in close and said, “Rick, you have got to pray for God to help us”. I had no idea what to even say to God in that moment because things had happened so fast. I simply cried out to Him and said, “O, God, help us. Please work on our behalf.”
And He did. Though the birth of our child was six weeks early and there were still challenges ahead, the issue at the moment was resolved. Little did we know that was the first of hundreds of prayers for wisdom and help over the next couple of decades for our precious child.
The most beneficial things Paula and I have done concerning receiving wisdom as parents has been our dependence upon the Lord as we have trusted in His Word and gone to Him in prayer. When we neglected that, the end result wasn’t pleasant. The harmony in the family was disturbed and God’s name was dishonored.
God delights to give wisdom to those that would ask Him for it. What a privilege we have to come to the very author and designer of life and pray for His direction and help!
Friend, what issues are you struggling with and don’t seem to have any answers? Have you tried other means to find answers and neglected the Lord? Are you confused about what to do as a family? Is your marriage about to dissolve?
Take heart. Wisdom is to be had at the throne of God for His children. Go there and lay claim to it and He will grant it to you.
“We tend to use prayer as a last resort, but God wants it to be our first line of defense. We pray when there’s nothing else we can do, but God wants us to pray before we do anything at all”, wrote Oswald Sanders.