I hope that during your lifetime you’ve had the chance to hold a snow globe. The snow globe is either a toy or piece of art that displays an idyllic scene that is encased within the confines of a clear globe, a liquid and small specs of “snow.” The idea is that when you shake the globe, the clear scene becomes covered with a make-believe snow fall, transforming before your very eyes a most beautiful snowy scene and creating one of the most wonderful feelings one can have, the feeling of a first snow fall. However, the perfect scene is no longer so perfect, in fact it’s hard to make out anymore. What was clear is now blurred by the snow. Though it may appear perfect, is it?
I have often thought of a snow globe as a great metaphor for life. There are many a time that my little idyllic life, so picture perfect, becomes disturbed as we go through experiences and seasons that “shake us up.” Your once clear perspective is no longer clear and what was sure is not so sure anymore. Perhaps you feel that way today. Perhaps what was so sure and clear as you began your year has changed dramatically, and your idyllic world has been disturbed. Now things are all different. I know my life is different. I know the lives of many of my dearest friends are different. I have friends that have lost loved ones, lost work, lost their health, lost a marriage and in some cases lost their faith. The world we live in has been shaken and for many of us, we were simply not prepared for it.
Recently, I was reading a passage in the Bible about wisdom, and it said the following:
“If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways” (James 1:5-8 ESV).
The first verse is easy to understand and very promising…. it’s simply saying if you want wisdom its yours for the taking. God loves to give wisdom to those who ask. Wisdom is highly sought after. Imagine your life if you had more wisdom? Imagine some of your decisions in life and what they would have been if you had had more wisdom. Who does not want more wisdom? I can say that I desperately want more wisdom, especially during this most unexpected and uncharacteristic year.
The passage then takes a strange turn because the next few verses paint a raw and possibly hopeless picture. In essence, what seemed so easily attainable in the first part becomes somewhat impossible in the second part. I am told that if I lack faith (which is every day) that I won’t get this promised wisdom, and worse yet, I shouldn’t assume that I will get anything from the Lord, and I will be branded a “double minded” and unstable person. I think that’s the Bible’s way of saying I am schizophrenic, unpredictable and untrustworthy.
The only source
The important thing to understand is the following: God gives wisdom and He ought to be my sole source of that wisdom. I must trust God to provide it. However, many times in seeking wisdom, God is not my only source; God is one source. Why? Perhaps I don’t trust God, or I don’t want to wait on His timing, or my feelings, emotions and cultural, political and socioeconomic perspectives cloud my view of God’s wisdom. I am guilty of this. For example, I may be seeking God about a financial decision I want to make. I will ask Him for wisdom, BUT then I turn to my favorite blogs, network, author or latest headline in the news. I will allow my search for wisdom to take a path where my source is no longer God alone. Certainly, there is nothing wrong with advice, news, well-written books and articles; however, they ought to never be put on par with God’s wisdom. Therefore, in my quest for Godly wisdom in the financial decision I am trying to make, where am I looking for that wisdom? Who am I asking to join me in the quest? What is the source of the material I am reading and looking at? Is it Godly? Is it consistent with God’s wisdom? Does it draw me closer or farther away from the Source?
In closing, may I have permission to offend some of you? God’s Word sometimes offends, and that’s a good thing. There is no question that we are living during a difficult season. We are faced with a global pandemic, economic uncertainty, new realities, racial and social unrest, political tension, and that’s just before we have our first cup of coffee. I typically stay off of social media, limit my cable news intake, don’t listen to too many popular podcasts and try and stay away from some of the more salacious conspiracy theories (though they are entertaining). However, I have found myself engaged in all kinds of conversations where the opinions, ideas and so-called truths are freely conveyed, hotly debated and presented as hidden truth (perhaps there is some truth in some of these “insights”; there usually is). What is concerning is the level of angst and emotional fervor related to the related information. Wisdom is being sought, but from where? I am concerned that the “wisdom” being shared is NOT sourced from God, and we are quickly becoming unstable and double minded. How can I not be seduced by my own quest for knowledge and truth, but rather be surrendered? I can have my “quiet time” (which is a Christian’s way of saying their daily time with God, which usually is not even that quiet) for a few minutes but then will find myself spending hours on end pursing headlines, searching the web, reading a forwarded article or watching a YouTube video with a note from the sender that I “must watch this because it discloses what’s really going on.” Again, I am not that smart to be able to understand all of the nuances of the times we are living in; however, I do know that I desperately need wisdom. Perhaps I am being naïve or coping with my uncertainty by just covering my ears. However, I must say that everything we are experiencing is not a surprise to God, and He sees with utmost clarity what I can only vaguely see through the shaken globe. I must trust His voice, His perspective and His cadence. He alone can settle my spirit in order for me to once again see with clarity what is before me.
Stephan N. Tchividjian is the president and founder of the National Christian Foundation South Florida. Visit southflorida.ncfgiving.com to learn more.