There came a time in my life where reality seemed to bend back on itself as if it’s encased inside of a funhouse mirror. Kind of like how the universe looks near the event horizon of a black hole. Life started to look and feel different years ago. I’ve learned from people much older than me that this change is normal. Expected even. Despite what one of the greatest philosophers of our time, R. Kelly, has to say, age actually is more than a number.
When I was in my late teens I was like most young adults my age. The world was my oyster and personal mission of conquest soon to be tackled. When I reached my 20s my blood was hot and it was my time to take the bull by the horns. I knew what I was going to do with my life, where I wanted to be, who I was going to be with or without and when it was all going to take place. This was the decade where you cross the legal age to drink and pop into any club of your liking. No matter how ratchet. The world is new when you’re in your 20s. You don’t realize it but you smell like newborn baby butt for quite a while. Mommy and daddy can’t control you and you’re now old enough to make all kinds of irrational decisions, join causes to fight for, flirt with every pleasure or simply mold your life after a sloth. As written by another great philosopher - Nas - the world is yours.
When you reach your 30s you look back at your 20s and wonder if you had some sort of retardation spell cast over your life. If you’re like me, you realize you were stupid. And not just the normal level of stupid where you think being inebriated and high as a kite is a good thing. But the kind where you know full well you shouldn’t even be alive but by the grace of God due to your own numbskullery. But in your 30s, you’ve at least come to terms with the fact you didn’t know as much as you thought. There’s a level of awareness that starts to develop as you grow and mature. Like a toddler now experiencing life from his or her feet instead of on their hands and knees. This is the decade where your blood starts to cool a bit but foolishly you believe you’re now smart and educated because you’re aware of your gaps in knowledge. You believe you’ve arrived. Unbeknownst to you, hubris likes to play with people in their 30s. You are old enough to be considered in your prime, whatever that means. And you’re young enough to still laugh at 65 year old men mowing grass wearing shorts and knee high socks. You want to stay here and never age. It is at this point you’re thinking more seriously about life. You know, like an adult that has to think more seriously about life. You may double down on your career. Perhaps you start thinking about owning a home, having a family and owning some sort of four-legged creature to serve like a golden calf. Your political position has become solidified and you’ve found more significant causes worthy of your time to fight for because everyone before you has simply done it all wrong. The 30s are an incredible time in a person’s life. So much happens during this decade. And then one day you cross into the 40 yard territory.
It is at this point - your 40s - that you realize for 40 years you’ve been stuck inside of the matrix. It’s akin to meeting the Upside Down in Stranger Things. Reality starts to bend back on itself. You look at your 30s, you know, your prime years, and realize you were an absolute moron in those years as well. It is at this point humility grabs you at the throat and violently shakes you. You learn to drop words like never from your vocabulary because life has showed you that word is for toddlers who are planning their futures. You notice many aspects of life are rigged. And not the kind of rigged you believed existed while in your 30s. You know, the kind that says there is a villain out to get you. Instead, it’s the kind of rigged that is necessary to maintain natural order within our human existence. The, there’s nothing new under the sun kind of rigged that screams of an underlying system that has existed since the dawn of man. This is the time in life where your eyes cross whenever you hear people toss the word science at the end of a sentence so they can appear educated; “I know humans came from rocks because I believe in science”. You now know most people don’t even know what the word means yet they wield it around like it has supernatural abilities to make whatever is impotent potent. The world looks and feels different in your 40s. If you have children you try to brain dump your experiences so they don’t make the same mistakes as you, thinking they know it all. Deep down you know there is a high probability they will still pave their own way no matter how ridiculous the path. Just like you. In your 40s, life has grounded you to the reality that you will never know or have all of the answers. At least, not on your own. You learn that you need help. And not from other helpless, earth wanderers like yourself. But some sort of guidance system to help you navigate reality. Why? Because as you age it seems as if this world keeps shifting the rules. The earth shattering trinket of knowledge you’re blessed with in your 40s isn’t just that you don’t know anything but nobody really knows anything. And we’re all just pretending like we do.
Live long enough and you’ll begin to understand what I mean. After a century of creating mattresses people still can’t get the perfect sleep. Smoking was originally thought to help clear the lungs. Salt and fat were thought to be bad but now we know the body badly needs them. But it has to be the right kind of salt and fat. Have you ever looked at a pair of shoes and then back at your feet? Nobody has triangle, shark shaped feet. But now you know why people develop problems in their feet and why it’s hard to find shoes that fit right. Shoes of today mess with our foot’s biomechanics which are incredibly complex creations. But marketing and fads rule the day. Do you know how old the earth is? Those who reject young earth creation have it pinpointed at 4 billion years of age. However, that’s today. This number has changed over and over again since scientists introduced dating methods. In the late 1800s it was thought to be around 20 million years of age. In 50 years the date will change again to fit narratives. How about dinosaurs? Those guys weren’t supposed to exist within the same timeline as humans. Yet for over a decade scientists have been finding dinosaur soft tissue which should not exist under any circumstances if dinosaurs could only have lived millions of years ago. Now before you yell out, “yeah but science”, you’re only going to prove my point, which is the goal post keeps getting moved. Science is merely the study of the natural world. It’s not some sort of panacea to every unknown that could possibly exist. Need I remind you, fallen humans are the scientists. I could list hundreds of these examples. We’re simply living in a reality where we don’t know and we’re desperately trying to know. And we’re wrong, a lot. And that should be expected. For what did humanity really create? Nothing. We’re playing in a sandbox someone else - God - created.
To combat this conundrum man has been on an illusive tear racing towards the pinnacle of all things for thousands of years. Knowledge. With knowledge man can finally become the master of his own universe. The accumulation of knowledge is what convinced humanity to construct the Tower of Babel. All peoples coming together under one tongue with one objective. The goal to secure the human race’s position in creation, never to be flooded again by God if we can simply reach the heavens. Fast forward to our day and age and history repeats. Humanity once again, attempting to reach the heavens as it seeks out the possibility of colonizing other planets. Providing an alternative to earth so we can stave off the extinction of the human race. Let’s prepare to leave a planet that supports life for one that doesn’t! Math adds up. Makes total sense.
With each generation humanity looks down on the previous. Current generations believe they’re smarter than their predecessors. We live in a never ending age of progress. Social progress. Technological progress. Economic progress. But if you look closely we’re merely just upgrading the hamster’s wheel. Progress is an illusion. Where are we going? No one is really getting smarter. In fact I’d argue we’ve reversed course in that department. Our brains simply don’t operate as sharply as they used to. Realize we can barely remember more than 3 phone numbers today. We struggle to get Bible verses to stick. Yet the Pharisees were able to memorize entire books of the Old Testament starting at a young age. Today, our way finding skills are horrific thanks to our amazing technology. Yet there was a time where people could trek through remote jungles using only basic senses. What’s more incredible, we could sail the seas using just the sun.
We like to think we’re advancing. But the truth is we’re simply building off of information from those who came before us. Often, those who did come before us had a lot less to work with. We can thank the ancient Egyptians for their contribution to mathematics, medicine and hieroglyphics. The Mesopotamians with their contributions to metallurgy, astronomy, irrigation systems and architecture. So many others before us worked with practically nothing, yet contributed so much to humanity. And do you know what the constant is for all of this? The one thing that has actually enabled humanity to “progress”? Time. We only live but for so long. This encourages us to share and pass on information so the next generation can pick up where we left off. It’s not that humanity is becoming smarter, more intelligent or progressing in any way. The same problems and sins that existed thousands of years ago still exist today. And we’ve had thousands of years of accumulated knowledge to fix them. In my opinion, progress through knowledge is a man made concept and it can be 100% illusory. But wisdom my friend, isn’t.
Pleasing the Lord
In 1 Kings 3, Solomon is visited by the Lord who puts forth a question you and I can only dream about.
5 At Gibeon the LORD appeared to Solomon in a dream by night, and God said, “Ask what I shall give you.” - 1 Kings 3:4
Solomon responds with requesting wisdom and discernment. This pleases God. Note His response.
11 And God said to him, “Because you have asked this, and have not asked for yourself long life or riches or the life of your enemies, but have asked for yourself understanding to discern what is right, 12 behold, I now do according to your word. Behold, I give you a wise and discerning mind, so that none like you has been before you and none like you shall arise after you. - 1 Kings 3:11 - 12
If you’ve been paying attention thus far, you’ll notice everything I’ve been laying out within this email was the exact opposite of what Solomon was after. Solomon didn’t care to live long. He wasn’t after riches or fame despite being given his father’s throne. He wasn’t trying to make a name for himself through progress. Solomon, like his father David, was after God’s heart. And he only cared about what God cared about. He wanted to be able to govern God’s people rightly, knowing good from evil. He knew this was most important. He knew nothing on earth mattered if people were outside of relationship with God. Solomon’s humility, realizing his deficiencies, realizing his own lack of knowledge, realizing his fallenness, led him to ask God for wisdom.
What I love about Solomon is that he knew despite being surrounded with the brightest of the bright he still lacked something fundamental to life. (Bars) Realize, Solomon was king. He had access to the smartest and wealthiest of people in his day. Yet what he asked God for, was something only God can give. Wisdom is supernatural by nature. Contrary to popular opinion, it is more than the accumulation of knowledge over the course of one’s life. In fact, if we think about this rationally and logically, wisdom can’t be boiled down to the accumulation of knowledge. Why? Because if it was, the only difference between our intelligence and God’s would be the size of our knowledge banks. God would just have access to a larger library. But wisdom is different. It isn’t about having a larger library of books. Instead, wisdom is like having a sixth sense which enables its possessor to successfully navigate the realms God created. Yes, realms, plural. Spiritual and physical. And out of every piece of jewelry on earth wisdom is the most valuable of all jewels.
12 “But where shall wisdom be found? And where is the place of understanding? 13 Man does not know its worth, and it is not found in the land of the living. 14 The deep says, ‘It is not in me,’ and the sea says, ‘It is not with me.’ 15 It cannot be bought for gold, and silver cannot be weighed as its price. 16 It cannot be valued in the gold of Ophir, in precious onyx or sapphire. 17 Gold and glass cannot equal it, nor can it be exchanged for jewels of fine gold. 18 No mention shall be made of coral or of crystal; the price of wisdom is above pearls. 19 The topaz of Ethiopia cannot equal it, nor can it be valued in pure gold. - Job 28:12–19
Wisdom can only come from God. It isn’t derived via natural means. And its value is immeasurable.
20 “From where, then, does wisdom come? And where is the place of understanding? 21 It is hidden from the eyes of all living and concealed from the birds of the air.” - Job 28:20–21
And the whole earth sought the presence of Solomon to hear his wisdom, which God had put into his mind. - 1 Kings 10-24
Not only does wisdom come from God and not only does it please God when we seek it, God gives it to us freely.
5 If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. - James 1:5
I’m sure that last verse is familiar to you. But what is often left out of the discussion to seek wisdom is how we are to request it. The next few verses tell us plainly.
6 But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. 7 For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; 8 he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways. - James 1:6–8
Remember our last email from this newsletter? Posture is key. Solomon received wisdom because his posture was correct when he approached God. He was humble enough to know he didn’t have life figured out. He knew humanity did not have what it takes to even govern itself. He was without reproach. He knew he was playing in God’s sandbox. And if he was going to have a shot at a right relationship with God like his father David, he needed God to supernaturally help him. I like to think of wisdom as the mind of God put into practice. Solomon was after such an experience.
There is so much to be said about wisdom. The Bible is chocked full of verses on it but this email is already a bit long so I will spare you. What I want you to take away, is that you desperately need wisdom. We all do. Without it you will be unstable in all your ways as James states. Your relationship with God will be unstable. You will fail to truly understand and know God. You will fail to truly meet God in any circumstance. Wisdom, is a hot line to God’s thoughts. It is the true information highway. A compass for uncharted territory. Corrective lenses for when life becomes blurry. Order for when the world seems to be in chaos.
As I close I’d like to challenge you to pray for wisdom. It can only be acquired by praying for it with the correct posture. And I'm not referring to situational wisdom, which is the kind of wisdom one requests to get over a specific hurdle in life. But instead, pray for the kind of wisdom that enables you to govern your entire life, and if given the opportunity, the lives of others in a way that pleases God. Lastly, pray for the kind of wisdom that increases your desire for God, so you will be drawn closer to Him.