The Epiphany of Joy, Chapter 3: Joy in Wisdom [2 of 2]
The writer of the Book of Wisdom described her this way:
Wisdom is radiant and unfading,
and she is easily discerned by those
who love her,
and is found by those who seek her.
She hastens to make herself known to
those who desire her.
One who rises early to seek her will
have no difficulty,
for she will be found sitting at the
To fix one’s thought on her is perfect
and one who is vigilant on her account
will soon be free from care,
because she goes about seeking those
worthy of her,
and she graciously appears to them in
and meets them in every thought.
–Wisdom 6:12-16 (NRSVCE)
When God told me to write this book, my first reaction was one of surprise and disbelief: “Me? Write a book about joy?” But then my faith gear kicked in and I told God “Okay, this is Your deal. I’m a conduit for Your Spirit to work through me: I’ll provide the fingers and the brain and the computer, but Your Spirit has to provide the rest.” In other words, I needed wisdom to show up at my gate in a hurry so I could complete my Daddy’s assignment. Later, while attending a Prayer Ministry training session at New River, Denise Bell, the Freedom Minister, prayed over me, and as she prayed she spoke a message to me: “You don’t have to learn before you put pen to paper,” she said. “You can learn while putting pen to paper. Whatever that means.” What Denise didn’t know was I’d been spending a lot of time with my nose buried in texts, both divine and conventional, in an attempt to understand joy. In this moment of prayer Wisdom hastened to make herself known to me, and she’s hung out with me throughout the entire adventure. In fact, I’m constantly amazed when I revisit these chapters for honing and polishing and read something I could not have written on my own. “She understands the turn of phrases and the solutions to riddles,” the author of the Book of Wisdom wrote in Wisdom 8:8b (NAB). I continue to witness that truth first-hand, and it’s amazing! It’s in those moments I realize God’s Spirit has been sitting here typing and whispering and enjoying this process right along with me. As I’ve become vigilant to the Spirit’s presence, my cares and worries about accomplishing what God assigned me have diminished. After all, I’ve got my very own Holy Ghost writer!
Once we acknowledge and respect God’s sovereignty, and after we’ve asked Him to bless us with His wisdom, He will make our paths clear and straight:
“Who has learned your counsel,
unless you have given wisdom
and sent your holy spirit from on high?
And thus the paths of those on earth
were set right,
and people were taught what pleases
and were saved by wisdom.”
–Wisdom 9:17-18 (NRSVCE)
For decades fear of failure, fear of financial disaster, and fear of man shackled me to the status quo. I was a slave to the comfort of the here and now, and I genuflected to the world’s shaky promise of a secure future. Money and the accumulation of wealth had become my end-all be-all, despite its fickleness and empty promises. I rode the undulating roller-coaster of the stock market and my bank accounts with increasing distaste and distrust. I knew there was more to life, I just couldn’t release the safety bar and walk away from it. But once I began to sincerely trust God and embrace His wisdom, something miraculous happened: the light of God’s face shined through the darkness of fear and illuminated the white stones of His promises He’d already placed on the path to Him. One-by-one things began to snap into place: God, through the wisdom of His Spirit, revealed the source and structure of this book; my company allowed me to transition to half-time employment, giving me time to begin this journey in earnest; the lady who moved in next door to us is a children’s novel author and the owner of a publishing company; my company laid me off only two months before I intended to quit, and I received a severance package; opportunities to serve my fellow writers in the capacity of editor “just happened” to pop up–two opportunities in the same week, diminishing my fears about financial solvency and my future capability to keep a roof over my family’s heads. God saved me–and continues to save me daily–with His wisdom.
And as dots connect and doors continue to open, as Wisdom pours into my heart and puts a smile on my face, joy walks hand-in-hand with her, and together they continue to reveal to me what’s next. As Ben Sirach wrote in his book: “Whoever loves [wisdom] loves life, and those who seek her from early morning are filled with joy. For at last you will find the rest she gives, and she will be changed into joy for you.” (Sirach 4:12, 6:28 NRSVCE).
Copyright ©2013 by David C. Hughes