“For in much wisdom is much vexation,
and those who increase knowledge increase sorrow.”
~Ecclesiastes 1:18 (NRSV)
This, on the surface, may appear to be a very depressing subject. We could be forgiven for believing that growing in Wisdom is a futile search retrieving only sorrow.
Of course, the nurture of Wisdom promises much more. But with maturity—another word for wisdom—comes the greater appreciation of the range of common and uncommon experience known to human life. The wiser we get, spiritually speaking, and the more access we have to both our primal and sophisticated feelings, the more we will feel. And that is a dire reality for the uninitiated.
The wise actually make a mission for themselves. Had they known earlier on, perhaps they may not have ventured. Wisdom, like the journey of faith, lures us and only when we have committed does she begin to press in on us. Wisdom, like the journey of faith, appears easy to begin with. Only later does it get hard. That is discipleship.
What we must take on, as this committed journey continues, are the scrapings of moral courage. Only when Wisdom transforms itself in courage can we enter in.
When Wisdom Is Courage To Enter In
“My joy is gone, grief is upon me,
my heart is sick.”
~Jeremiah 8:18 (NRSV)
The Prophet’s sentiment is humanly common. He repents for his people, and perhaps knows more acutely than anyone the national distress we know, historically, that was Judah’s to come.
Jeremiah is the image of depressed wisdom from stark knowledge. More knowledge has not necessarily done him good and attracted him favour, apart from in God’s eyes.
But Wisdom is truth. The longer our journey on the path toward Wisdom, the more truth we will be confronted by. Courage is a necessity of survival.
The Ambit Of Wisdom
The true conquest of Wisdom is harrowing and, indeed, sorrowful. No one genuinely setting out on Wisdom’s path does so, enduring the journey, with blinkers left on.
The ambit of Wisdom is the divinity of humiliation; the equanimity of nothingness; the preparedness to be stripped of all we bring, for God needs nothing that God does not already have.
But just as the acclamation of Wisdom is a sadistically unique conquest, it drives us headlong into life—life as God designed us to live. Wisdom is a divine idea for the actualisation of humanity. But such an actualisation will require more of us than we can yet perceive.
Wisdom is a double-edged sword. It brings us life, but also sorrow. Yet, it’s God will that we work on our learning and grow in Wisdom, abiding in the truth.
© 2012 S. J. Wickham.