By Sarah Prosser
The primary purpose of the sacred author was the edification of his co-religionists in a time when they had experienced suffering and oppression. . . [t]o convey his message he made use of the most popular religious themes of his time, namely the splendor and worth of divine wisdom. . .
On Monday, I began my last year of law school. There’s something bittersweet about reaching this point when just two short years ago it felt entirely unattainable—a dream that would never come to fruition. To say that I’ve doubted that I would make it here is an understatement. I’ve been pushed and challenged, stretched and grown, and more often than not, I’ve wanted to throw in the towel and call it quits. In the midst of the struggle, the suffering, the grind of the day-in-and-day-out life of a law student, I’ve asked a lot of questions.
Why am I even here?
Why is this so hard?
How will I make it through this?
What is the point?
Where is the Lord in all of this?
As I begin this last chapter of law school, I can’t help but reflect. Glancing in the metaphorical rearview mirror of life, the questions—the whys, hows, whats, and wheres— of the past two years are seen with new clarity and purpose, and an understanding that was nonexistent when I was in that present moment. What I couldn’t understand then, I understand now.
Isn’t that the frustrating limitation of human wisdom: clarity and understanding comes in retrospect. Human wisdom and understanding often seem to arrive too late, when the events have passed and the questions are no longer as pressing or relevant.
The passage from the beginning of this post is an excerpt from the introduction to the Book of Wisdom in the New American Standard Bible. Its language is striking. At a time when they had experienced suffering and oppression. . . [the author] made use of the most popular religious themes of his time, namely the splendor and worth of divine wisdom.
Wisdom—divine wisdom—is the antidote the author offers to the peoples’ suffering and oppression. How often do we fail to invoke the splendor and worth of divine wisdom when facing suffering in our own lives? We make the mistake of believing that the frailty of human wisdom will provide an explanation that only divine wisdom can. Suffering, oppression, darkness—none of it makes sense unless illuminated by the light of divine wisdom. To walk in the here and now, suffering without the aid of divine wisdom is to walk the path of hopelessness and despair.
Divine wisdom is imperative to human flourishing.
Human life contains suffering–it is unavoidable. But we can avoid falling into the trap of hopelessness and despair that occurs when we rely on our human wisdom alone. We must pray and invoke the Holy Spirit to fill us with divine wisdom. However, we must not assume that divine wisdom will provide the immediate and detailed answers our human frailty seeks. Rather, divine wisdom provides a blessed assurance that our questions will one day be answered and that there is purpose behind the path we have been called to walk. Divine wisdom gives us the peace and patience necessary to endure through the sufferings of the present time knowing that God’s greater glory is at work.