Searching for Wisdom

Sue Reeve

     I enjoy reading signs when traveling in the car. Not the glitzy LED signs along the freeway with messages that were programmed on some unseen computer.

     I like the white signs with the removable letters you see on mom and pop small-town businesses or country churches. The kind of signs where the contraction for you are is always misspelled y-o-u-r.

     Last spring, my husband and I were driving through a small town in central Idaho, and I had to bring this sign to Ron’s attention:

Life doesn’t have a remote. Get up and change it yourself!

     How about this clever and hilarious Valentine’s message displayed in front of a Vet’s office?

                               Too much love can be a bad thing.  Please have your pets spayed or neutered.

     Since I work at my church, reading this country church sign amused me. I sure hope it isn’t the sentiment about our fellowship:

Don’t let worry kill you; let the church help.

     I’m especially fond of the signs on Davis Donuts, a local Coeur d’Alene business. Their pithy observations often make me chuckle.
     My all-time favorite Davis Donut sign read:

Knowledge is knowing tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is knowing you don’t put tomato in a fruit salad.

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My friend, Brianna, recently harvested these beautiful tomatoes. Since Brianna and her husband, Joe, own a popular Coeur d’Alene eatery, Meltz, I’m sure she won’t be tempted to put these tomatoes in a fruit salad! (I suspect they’d make dynamite salsa!)

     This sign made me smile every time I drove past it. It also caused me to remember a time in my life when I seldom smiled.

     I was 27 years old, and my new reality was hitting hard. My seven year marriage was over. Hope for reconciliation seemed gone. One particular Friday evening, I felt so alone. My beautiful two-year-old daughter, who I loved more than my own life, slept peacefully in her crib in an upstairs bedroom while I sat cross-legged on the ugly avocado green shag carpet in the townhouse apartment I’d just rented.

     I recall that evening so well. With arms wrapped tightly across my chest, I swayed back and forth—probably a subconscious reminiscence of a long ago time when my mama held me closely and rocked. But, I was no longer a little girl rocked by her mama. I was a single mother who had never lived without the security of a man. I married very young—moving from my father’s to my husband’s home. When my marriage ended, I had no idea how to navigate this new and unwanted phase of my life journey.

     As I sat there crying, rocking—back and forth, back and forth—I did another thing I’d done with my mother—I prayed. My prayer that night went something like this, “God, I am SO scared! I don’t know what to do! Please, please, PLEASE help me!!”

     Before I sat down on the floor that lonely Friday night, I’d grabbed a Bible off the book shelf. It lay open on my lap. When every tear I could cry had been cried, I looked down at the book, and my eyes landed on these words, “If anyone lacks wisdom, let him ask of God who grants to all liberally without finding fault.” (James 1:5) WOW! I said, “That’s what I need. I need wisdom.”

     That night I began to search for wisdom—something I previously thought only ‘old’ people did. I realized I desperately needed it, but since I really didn’t know what wisdom was, I could only hope God might give it to me.

     In the five years I spent as a single mom and in every subsequent year since then, again and again when I didn’t know what to do, I pray for wisdom. Sometimes, when my situation seems especially desperate, I feel the need to add, “Remember! You promised, God!”

     Over the years, I’ve discovered a couple things about wisdom. First, when my motives are pure and sincere, God grants my request for wisdom, and I’ll never regret the outcome. Secondly, often I won’t know I acted wisely until I’m able to see an event through life’s rear view mirror. It’s from the perspective of looking back we’re often able to realize blunders we managed to avoid.

     Searching for wisdom is worthwhile, and the search can begin simply by asking an all-wise, all-knowing God for a smidge of Divine understanding, aka WISDOM. I couldn’t agree more with these words:

Get wisdom; develop good judgment…
Don’t turn your back on wisdom, for she will protect you.
Love her, and she will guard you. Getting wisdom is the wisest thing you can do! Proverbs 4:5-7a NLT

4 thoughts on “Searching for Wisdom

  1. Thanks for sharing that I have thought about knowledge and wisdom as have you. Knowledge to me is knowing something, wisdom is the experience of that knowledge. You had the knowledge of being a single mom, but God gave you the wisdom to know what to do with that knowledge.

  2. Loved this post, Sue. That “Davis Donuts” sign is also my favorite of all I’ve seen on their board. On a Spay & Neuter Clinic in Salt Lake City I saw this, “A stitch in time saves nine. Get your pet spayed.”

    I grew up with a very wise father, but I too still had to learn that wisdom comes from asking God. That verse in James is a favorite of mine because I’ve leaned on it so heavily over my lifetime. He gave me the wisdom to know which man to marry, even though I wasn’t mature enough to have all the answers. It was God’s wisdom that helped me choose Bob over all the other applicants. (That’s what I tell him and he thanks me.) After 52 years of married life, we know we both chose wisely and we thank God. OOPS this is YOUR platform, not mine. But you know me well enough to know i couldn’t resist this reply.

    Thanks for doing this blog. I’m enjoying your words.
    Judy Lovitt

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