When a mother giraffe gives birth, she does so standing up. So her calf’s first act is to fall 6 feet to the ground, crash landing on his face. Then, as if such an arrival wasn’t harsh enough, the youngling’s mother will continually knock him down when he attempts to stand.
This isn’t cruelty. It is the youngster’s primal lesson: If you are going to stay alive in a world of apex predators, you better learn to stand on your own feet. You better wise up as quickly as possible.
Yes, if we are going to survive, we need to learn our lessons well. And since none of our mothers hatched us in the Serengeti, immediately kicked us in the head, or thumped us like a drum in the hospital nursery, we can’t rely upon nature’s classroom. We have to find a different way. That way is wisdom.
Wisdom, at its most basic, is the skillful application of knowledge and experience. And maybe no greater commodity is more needed in today’s world. But beyond dropping all the idiots of the world on their heads and kicking them around for a while (a nice image I like to daydream about, but an image spoiled once I realize that I’m as big a moron as the people I criticize), what can we do on a planet with so little wisdom?
The Apostle James answers: “If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking. But when you ask him, be sure that your faith is in God alone.”
Wisdom, by all practical appearances, is there for the taking. God will give those who request it, the insight and understanding that they need. God can save us from foolish and reckless living, if — and this is a colossal “if” —we will trust him for these things and not ourselves.
And that’s the rub, the very definition of our absurdity: We do not trust God to show us the way of wisdom. We waver, follow our own hearts, and then fall victim to our own lunacy. By trusting ourselves, we land in the dust over and over again. Yes, I know it’s hard to “let go and let God,” but his way is the only path to true wisdom, and it’s a path far less painful than constantly falling on your face.
Ronnie McBrayer is a syndicated columnist, pastor and author. His newest book is “The Gospel According to Waffle House.” You can read more at www.ronniemcbrayer.me/.