Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Proverbia 1

Proverbia 1
Virgil's proverbs #1

Sorrow is the friend of wisdom
And suffering abides with understanding.

As mentioned sometime ago, I would like to flesh out my life Proverbs a little bit. This one was posted on April 10, so it has been a while since I got around to following up. There has been a lot of water under the bridge in the meantime and maybe some of that will come out in due course.

It is not surprising that sorrow is the friend of wisdom. I suppose I had always known this, at least from an Academic distance. But God is kind and He takes us through various sorrows so that we can get an up close dose.

It is clear to me that sorrow both brings wisdom and reveals wisdom. This is why we often go from sorrow to sorrow, with interludes of peace and safety in between. Sorrow requires wisdom to get through to the other side and wisdom accompanies sorrow in its grief. They work together spurring one another on to higher, or perhaps more appropriately, deeper destinations.

But sorrow and wisdom are indeed friends, often together and in need of one another. And without sorrow, wisdom is a fair weather friend at best. Sorrows develop wisdom because they give us understanding, compassion, and mercy. It is strange that in sorrows, in suffering, the sorrowful and suffering is often the one extending grace. They are needy of grace but God in His wisdom, dispenses grace from them. We watch and we learn from those who suffer and endure and we find that endurance, too, is wisdom.

Sorrow also tries wisdom. It is in testing times that we get to see what we are made of. Often, what we see is none too good. We cringe at our own frailties and it is only with hindsight that we can see the good, see the growth. But this, too, leads to wisdom, shows us that God was faithful in the midst of trial, when we thought that we had failed or even if we thought that He had failed.

When I said, "Suffering abides with understanding", I wasn't so much referring to my understanding of my own situation. That almost never happens in the midst of trial. Trials are characterized by misunderstanding more than they are by understanding. I meant that those who suffer begin to understand others, especially those weak others who often suffer and are misunderstood. Suffering enables us to relate to those that we may have not been able to relate to before. Relating to them in an understanding way also helps us to love them as we should.

Our own suffering reveals our own misunderstanding and our own lack of love. This revelation in suffering leads to a better understanding. Who would not call this a good thing?

No comments: