Ladders over Barbed-Wired Fences


Ladder over barb-wired fence in GeysirSpiraled rock in the Arctic OceanLadder over barb-wired fence in Gulfoss

How Can I obtain Wisdom?

So often I encounter people who covet wisdom! With their heads bowed down into their hands, they wonder if there will ever be a solution to the impasse they are facing.

We all go through tough times like these, but more often than not, the decisions we make are far from prudent.

Job, too, the one who faced a myriad of calamities, wondered the same thing: "But where can wisdom be found? Where does understanding dwell? Man does not comprehend its worth; it cannot be found in the land of the living." (Job 28:12-13 NIV)

Is there even such a thing as wisdom?

One of the strangest things I first saw in Iceland was long barbed-wired fences with ladders built over them. Why build a barbed-wire fence and then stick a ladder over it? It made no sense at all. Needless to say, I was hesitant to climb them!

The more I travelled through that country though, the more such ladders over fences I observed. I discovered that the purpose of these fences was to keep grazing animals corralled, while the ladders were for those (like us tourists) who wanted to experience something special within the containment of the fence, like a natural rocky spiral protruding from the ocean or a natural waterfall. Quite neat, don't you think?

Truly, "Wisdom is more precious than rubies, and nothing you desire can compare with her." (Prov 8:11 NIV)

Without these ladders, the tourists of the MacGyver type would find a way around these fences, and probably damage them. It's amazing what tourists would do to have a closer look!

One thing about wisdom is for certain: "A fool finds pleasure in evil conduct, but a man of understanding delights in wisdom." (Prov 10:23 NIV)

Wisdom is not for the wicked. In fact Job was not far off when he concluded that, "It cannot be found in the land of the living."

"For the wisdom of this world is foolishness in God's sight." (1 Cor 3:19 NIV)

But is wisdom even possible in this world?

There are ladders over prickly fences in Iceland, aren't there? So wisdom is indeed available. The first step to wisdom is fear of the Lord. "The fear of the LORD teaches a man wisdom…" (Prov 15:33 NIV, See also Job 28:28 and Ps 111:10)

Now this may well be an oxymoron, but many among us don't even have a grip on what it means.

In one of the episodes of Combat Hospital, a doctor who was in charge of a medical facility in Afghanistan was talking on the phone to his wife in Canada. Just as she was mentioning that there were some things they needed to talk about, his beeper went off. An emergency was on its way, and he didn't get to learn what those "things' were. As a result, he started to imagine the worst scenarios and his heart was not into his work. He was scared to death of losing his wife.

The next day when he finally was able to reconnect with his wife, he discovered that these "things" was to obtain permission for his 17-year old son to go to a certain concert. Needless to say, his heart was flooded with relief.

The fear of the Lord is quite similar to what that doctor went through. The fear of the Lord is all about being scared to death of wandering away from God and estranging ourselves from the One who is the most important in our lives.

If we have such a fear of hurting the One who made a difference in our lives, wisdom is within our reach. Wisdom is, after all, only obtainable to the ones who hunger for God, as He is the source of all wisdom! "For the LORD gives wisdom, and from his mouth come knowledge and understanding." (Prov 2:6 NIV See also Eph 1:8)

If He is the source to all wisdom, the next step for us is to simply ask Him to give us wisdom. And guess what? It will be given to us! "If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him." (James 1:5 NIV)

There is one condition, though, that many of us fail to meet, due to our tendency to doubt and worry: "But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all he does." (James 1:6-8 NIV)

God's wisdom will not only guide us through life, it will also help us "know Him better"! "I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better." (Eph 1:17-18 NIV)

Wisdom is like that ladder over barbed-wired fences. It leads us beyond the prickly situations of our life. Why not reach for it?

I wonder what's on the other side of that fence?

Rob Chaffart

Ladder over barb-wired fence in Skogafoss

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