Gaining Wisdom with Others
by Marge Franzen
You may, like me, find yourself in a period of isolation, whether that be geographically, physically emotionally, spiritually. The source can vary, either illness or overload can shove you into a new aloneness, a sense that no one is here but me. What an excellent time to reflect on Jesus’ promise, “I am with you always!” Matthew 28:20 He’s right here, listening to every cry of my heart.
Sensing my need for God’s wisdom to find my way through this spot where everything was about me I purchased God’s Wisdom for Navigating Life: A Year of Daily Devotions in the book of Proverbs by Timothy and Kathy Keller. But it’s only October I thought as I let myself get comfortable in my slump, maybe later.
New Year’s Eve, alone with nothing to do (poor me), I pulled that book out of the middle of the stack and thought I’d do a little prep by reading the introduction resolving to begin the next morning. (Great information – if you ever read this book do not skip the introduction!) And then the author smacked me upside the head… Though using these as personal daily devotions will certainly be a wonderful tool for your connection with God and growth in wisdom, the impact will be greatly multiplied by using it with others. How can I do that? I’m consumed with isolation!
The next morning as everyone was posting New Year’s resolutions, God nudged me with the idea of starting a Facebook group. I posted a sample from January 1 in the book and invited anyone to reply if they were interested in a private Facebook group to spend the year together in Proverbs. Within 36 hours eight embarked on the journey, all of us isolated in different ways but sensing the need for connection if only to have accountability to the daily reading.
And what have we discovered about wisdom? You can’t find it alone! God is the source of wisdom, Jesus is Wisdom. He came to be with us to show us the truth of God’s wisdom. As we listen to him each day and comment on our daily thread we discover another truth in Proverbs, God sends us wisdom in the mouths of his people. Listening to the conviction another person’s thoughts bring to my life, offering encouragement to ease another’s struggle, I find that God’s wisdom refutes the foolishness of isolation. Separated by miles and circumstances, I am not alone, nor left to my own resources.
God gave me courage to step into a new calling to mentor and be mentored by others. This verse, 2 Peter 1:3-8 (NLT) helps us see how the Holy Spirit mentors us to supplement our faith with moral excellence, knowledge, self-control, patient endurance, godliness, brotherly affection, and love for everyone. Notice how each step takes place in community with others. Take a step of faith to enter into Holy Spirit mentoring with some others.
3 By his divine power, God has given us everything we need for living a godly life. We have received all of this by coming to know him, the one who called us to himself by means of his marvelous glory and excellence. 4 And because of his glory and excellence, he has given us great and precious promises. These are the promises that enable you to share his divine nature and escape the world’s corruption caused by human desires.
5 In view of all this, make every effort to respond to God’s promises. Supplement your faith with a generous provision of moral excellence, and moral excellence with knowledge, 6 and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with patient endurance, and patient endurance with godliness, 7 and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love for everyone.
Feeling isolated? Seek Out Community With Others.
- Look Outward, Not Inward: There are times in life when it seems easier to retreat within and feel isolated. But, this also leaves us without needed resources to combat those feelings of loneliness. At some point, we have to find a new path to hope and that begins by looking up and looking out.
- Listen: It is easy to feel like this is all about you and how alone you feel. But, God doesn’t let any season in our lives go to waste. Pray about and pay attention to what God is trying to teach you in this season and then act on it.
- Reach Out: Look for others to walk with you as listen to God? How can you invite others to seek God’s wisdom with you through a Facebook group, bible study opportunity, coffee date, or your own creative twist? And remember, there is grace enough for every attempt and fall back. Just keep trying!
- Remember the Redeemer: Your hurt may be a path to another’s healing. As you seek God’s answers together, you will have found a friend and a care partner. Vulnerability is hard, but it leads to closeness. Sharing stories with each other can bring hope and support for the journey.
Marge Franzen works part-time for Trinity Lutheran Church in Lisle, Illinois as part of the equipping ministries team and has been a volunteer with WLI for the past two years.WLI