Finding answers can be tough. Blessedly, God is very good at helping us find them, and He provides us a roadmap to wise solutions in the book of Proverbs. There are some real jewels in there! I've learned to pay close attention to the If/Then statements, as in "if" you do this, "then" this will be your outcome. The first step for each of us is very clearly laid out in the book's beginning: LISTEN.
Man, that can be hard for me! I get so caught up in the demands on my time and the needs of those around me, I can have a hard time stopping to listen to the Lord. Or, I get overwhelmed in my own emotion and I simply can’t get past myself long enough to hear. But if I don’t make the time to stop and engage with Him, I can’t find His answer for me. Even if it’s brief, I have to decide to value God’s wisdom over my need to solve or move, and force myself to slow down and humbly check in through prayer and meditation.
Still, Proverbs makes it clear I also have to act. Solomon uses words like “apply,” “search,” “look” and “sift.” All of these are active verbs, action steps that have to accompany fervent prayer. This is where my intentionality comes into play. Maybe it’s reaching out to my pool of Wise Advisors for some counsel and insight. It could be studying my Bible on a topic. Or researching potential solutions, or seeking out strong programs that address my situation within my community. Regardless, it’s prayer AND action working hand-in-hand that allow God to show up and begin to impart wise solutions and answers. I can’t rely exclusively on one or the other.
As I learn to cry out to God and lay my needs and requests before Him, using His word and the resources He’s given me, my answers begin to come into view. It’s like I’m looking through a lens and the view is out of focus, but as I dial into God and begin to search, the focus sharpens and the right answer become crisp and sharp before me. While I may not get the entire solution all at once--that takes my faith and God-reliance out of the picture--I have my next step.
And the blessing? The “then” outcome? The Lord promises to grant me the kind of wisdom that will lead me to every good path. Here Solomon uses words like “victory, “shield,” “guard” and “protect.” My outcome will be “pleasant,” “pleasing.” He literally says it will save me from walking in the dark or getting lost down crooked, ruinous paths. Wow! Such a powerful blessing and promise!
If you're looking for answers, or for a path to your new "normal," make a decision. Stop. Listen. Cry out. Actively seek, sifting each potential solution through the lens of faith and God’s word. “Then you will understand what is right and just and fair–every good path” (Proverbs 2:9). Never forget God has this and He has you!
FOR FURTHER THOUGHT: What is harder for you? Is it to stop and listen, or to get up off your knees and act? Usually, one or the other will come easier for you, and sometimes it will change depending on the life season you find yourself in. Today, use this reminder that wisdom comes when we both pray AND act, making the decision to filter every potential solution through that lens of faith. Then, intentionally make space to go after doing both of these when you need solutions. I’d love to hear how it goes!
PRAYER: Papa, how good you are to me always, even when I don’t sense or feel it. When my answers seem elusive and far away, help me to remember that Your wisdom is right there waiting for me to trustingly reach toward it. Help me slow down enough to seek Your voice, a sheep who is in tune with the voice of my master. And thank you in advance for protecting me through every circumstance, leading me along a path that is pleasant and good. Always you are so good to me! I am grateful for Your divine care. Let me carry Your presence with me today and always, Papa. Amen.
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