Can you remember being eighteen and thinking you’d already acquired all the wisdom and insight life had to offer? I had answers for every question back then, made something up on the spot, or perhaps dismissed the whole discussion with sarcasm. No challenge could cross my path for which I was not ready. And then life continued my post high school education with the harsh reality of Hard Knocks 101.
David Bellamy wrote a song in 1990 about a thirty-five year old child of the 60’s looking backward to make sense of his present and fathom a path for his future. His education also began after high school.
…He was sure back in the sixties That everyone was hip
Then they sent him off to Vietnam On his senior trip
And they force him to become a man While he was still a boy
And behind each wave of tragedy He waited for the joy…
Thirty-five disappeared in my rearview mirror many miles ago, but taking inventory of one’s life can be a healthy endeavor at any age. I understand now how much I never knew at eighteen. What a doofus I was to think I had conquered life and should have been awarded status as the fourth wise man. At my current age, with more than a few gray hairs insulating my brain, each day brings fresh awareness of how little I do know and how much I have left to learn.
Of one fact I’m certain. The wisdom I need will not come from daily Facebook immersions, splashing around on You Tube, or surfing until I find the end of the Internet if there is such a thing. Consider these words written by Solomon, the wisest man who ever lived:
For the LORD gives wisdom; From His mouth come knowledge and understanding. Proverbs 2:6
The Bible God kindly includes snapshots of normal humans, guys like Peter who seemed to suffer from an incurable case of foot-in-mouth disease. After the Last Supper, as Jesus led His followers toward the Garden of Gethsemane, He told them that every one of them would run away from Him that night. And Peter argued with Jesus!
But Peter said to Him, “Even though all may fall away because of You, I will never fall away.” Matthew 26:33 NASB
Bravado? Extreme confidence? Perhaps a touch of arrogance? In that tumultuous evening Peter denied Jesus three times and plummeted into what had to be the lowest point of his life.
But he never stayed down. No doubt that crash taught him mountains about himself in a short time, and he recovered with a realistic view of his own makeup. Peter dedicated his life to the cause of Christ and became one of the pillars of the early church. He wrote two New Testament books, 1 Peter and 2 Peter, and consulted on Mark’s Gospel.
How was such a drastic change possible? Certainly his walk on the beach with the risen Savior assured him of his position in God’s family and gave him direction. Absolutely the baptism of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost gave him power. But Peter also journeyed into the second half of his life with the humility that comes from knowing anyone can fall. He made it his practice to choose his steps carefully. In his book, Peter shared wisdom he gained from his experience and his failure.
Therefore, prepare your minds for action, keep sober in spirit, fix your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. 1 Peter 1:13 NASB
Prepare your mind. Keep sober. Fix your hope. That sounds like a man certain of his path and confident in his counsel to others. No one reaches that point with acing Hard Knocks 101.
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