You’re blessed when you meet Lady Wisdom,
when you make friends with Madame Insight.
She’s worth far more than money in the bank;
her friendship is better than a big salary.
Her value exceeds all the trappings of wealth;
nothing you could wish for holds a candle to her.
With one hand she gives long life,
with the other she confers recognition.
Her manner is beautiful,
her life wonderfully complete.
She’s the very Tree of Life to those who embrace her.
Hold her tight—and be blessed! (The Message)
I like it that the author chose to personify wisdom as a woman. Maybe that’s because I have a wife and three daughters. Perhaps it has something to do with the fact that they, along with most of the women in my life, seem to have an almost mysterious quality of insight and understanding which transcends my very cerebral and logical approaches to life.
What I’m trying to say is that wisdom isn’t measured with a one-dimensional test of a person’s mental reasoning powers, but also requires emotional intelligence, social intelligence, interpersonal and relational intelligence, and spiritual intelligence, just to name a few.
And Lady Wisdom has it all. She’s the perfect combination of all the intelligent factors which make for a complete, fulfilling, and good life.
Everyone desires a good life. Nobody wakes up in the morning, sits on the edge of the bed, and thinks to themselves, “I really hope to have a bad day today!” A person might get up on the wrong side of the bed and grump their way through the first hours of the day, but no one makes a conscious decision to deliberately have a disappointing life.
Indeed, we all want a good life. Students go to school hoping to have a good experience. Marriages begin with the hope of having a good life together. New employees start with the wish that there will be satisfaction in doing a job well done. Parents dream of their kids growing up to have a good life.
We want the kind of life that brings contentment, joy, and happiness. So, how does it come?
A good life comes through embracing Lady Wisdom. And she has always been there, as the very Tree of Life:
“I was there when God set the heavens in place,
when he marked out the horizon on the face of the deep,
when he established the clouds above
and fixed securely the fountains of the deep,
when he gave the sea its boundary
so the waters would not overstep his command,
and when he marked out the foundations of the earth.
Then I was constantly at his side.” (Proverbs 8:27-30, NIV)
A good life has a basic respect and honor for God at the heart of it. Lady Wisdom understands this, first hand. She knows we are prone to being afraid. So, she assures us that the pursuit of true wisdom is worth it. With Lady Wisdom at our side, we have calm and confidence; we know when to take risks and when to be patient.
Most of all, our insecurities and anxieties begin to melt away as we connect with the image of God within us. Trust bubbles up from the depths of our soul, and we are no longer afraid of the unknown and what may happen to us.
The fear of the Lord means to honor and obey God, to be loyal and submissive. We know there is a good God from which our own good lives derive.
In a state of trust, of calm and confidence, we are able to listen and hear Lady Wisdom’s sage instruction. So, if you want to live a good life – and not just survive but thrive – then we must adopt a posture of listening.
The prerequisite to any semblance of a good life is to have a teachable spirit, to give focused attention to Wisdom. A fool is a fool, first and foremost, because he does not listen. Instead, he is negative, complains, and spews advice based in partial information.
But the person who hugs Lady Wisdom and does not let go, has learned to be attentive to the voice of God.
Continual fear of people is a death-dealing practice. But the person who fears God by listening to wise counsel discovers a life-giving practice that will serve them well for a lifetime.
The teachable spirit bends the ear to hear good advice. Such a wise spirit inclines toward acquiring knowledge and learning the skillset needed to live a spiritually abundant life.
For the Christian, therefore, we cannot learn if do not read. The Bible is a book. If the Bible was a car, I would tell us all to learn to be mechanics; if it were a fish or a deer, I would tell us all to learn the best ways to hunt and fish; or if it was a store, I would encourage us to learn about being good shoppers and consumers.
Yet, the Bible is a book. So, we must read it, memorize it, meditate on it, and learn from it. Becoming familiar with the contents of Holy Scripture, and immersing ourselves in it’s wisdom, will mold us in the ways of humility and form us spiritually for a lifetime of peace, love, and joy.
Maybe you aren’t a tree hugger. But I encourage you to become one. Embracing Lady Wisdom is the surest way to avoiding unnecessary problems and finding purpose in life. Indeed, because she is good, we become good.
Today, God of Wisdom, let me experience your good and gracious heart. Draw me into your very being, into the core of your love for me, others, and the world. Give me a glimpse of others from your good, right, and just perspective, in loving them, forgiving them, and delighting in the way they give glory to God through their very existence. Help me to discern out of that place of deep affection for humanity, that I, too, might be a useful conduit of your love in the world. Amen.