Child custody cases are always difficult, but this one was harder than most, because it involved determining maternity. Two women stood before the judge, each claiming that a living baby was hers. No witnesses were available, and blood tests and DNA tests had not been invented. How could the judge determine which woman was the true mother?
He said, “Bring me a sword I will cut the living child in two and give half to one and half to the other.”
One of the women cried, “Please . . . give her the baby! Don’t kill him!”
This response revealed to the judge that she was the true mother. His decision was a stroke of genius, some would say, but it was far more than that. It was true wisdom.
Wisdom understands what is true and right. Sometimes it goes by its nicknames, good judgment, insight, perception, and understanding. It’s the ability to make the right calls. Other words that fit under the umbrella of the concept of wisdom are discerning, judicious, prudent, and sensible. Not very glamorous words, perhaps, but words you can build a life on.
Someone has said that knowledge is the ability to take things apart, while wisdom is the ability to put things together. Wisdom is the right use of knowledge. It helps us understand how to use the circumstances for our good.
Warren Wiersbe wrote of a lady who was going through great trials. She had had a stroke, her husband had gone blind, and then he had to be taken to the hospital where, they were sure, he would die. Dr. Wiersbe saw her and assured her that he was praying for her.
“What are you asking God to do?” she asked with her question startling him.
“I’m asking God to help you and strengthen you,” he replied.
“I appreciate that,” she said, “but pray about one more thing. Pray that I’ll have the wisdom not to waste all of this!”
To not waste the events of our lives requires us to reflect on situations and happenings. Simply thinking about problems gives us the ability to see the best course of action in the midst of a problem. Thinking brings insight—the ability to see inside, to know what makes people and things operate. Thinking brings understanding—the ability to see life in perspective, put it all together, and makes sense of it.
Furthermore, consulting with others is wise. The proverb says that wisdom is in the abundance of counselors. Why do we listen to others and seek guidance from others? Because they have been through experiences and endured trials we have not yet encountered. They are able to look at our situations more objectively and with varied perspectives. Often, it is wise to learn from their experience so that we won’t have to experience what they have learned.
Discerning parents, trusted mentors, and wise friends can mean the world to us as we seek wisdom. Never take lightly the counsel and guidance of those you trust. Those people in your life help you be wise. They provide a depth and discernment you may lack. Listen to them. Learn from them. Linger with them.
In the end, we have to want wisdom. Wisdom comes to those who press after it like a thirsty deer searching for water or like a greedy man wanting to make more money. You have to go for it, want it more than nearly anything else. Then you shall find it.
Those who arrange their lives around the goal of gaining wisdom will receive rewards that far exceed anything they can imagine. You think you want wealth or power or beauty or long life? Wisdom is better. Nothing you desire can compare with wisdom. Seek and find wisdom.