Wisdom Wednesday: The Wisdom of a Discerning Way
Submitted by Debbie’s Dad
The wisdom of the sensible is to understand his way, But the foolishness of fools is deceit. Proverbs 14:8 (NASB 95)
The wisdom of the prudent is to discern his way, but the folly of fools is deceiving. (Proverbs 14:8 ESV)
Long nights and tireless weekends in the computer laboratory became commonplace. Assigned to a Navy surveillance project in my 30s, I was part of a team of engineers integrating a special aircraft system scheduled to be tested in an extensive Navy exercise. If our integration team missed the critical deadline, they would scrub our system from the exercise, and we would have to wait another year. That delay could stop follow-on work for our project and affect jobs at our company. So, we worked every minute to meet our deadline. Besides my home and church responsibilities, my long hours at work we left little time to sleep or relax.
With only a few weeks before our crucial deadline, I developed a continual uneasiness in my stomach. Eating became distasteful, and I lost my hunger. Finally, after a week with a queasy stomach, I visited our doctor to seek relief. I explained my symptoms and described the pressures of my life. “What kind of help do you want?” the doctor asked. “I thought an antacid or something like that might help,” I replied.
He examined me briefly before he returned to his large, cluttered desk in the corner of the examination room. Not saying a word, he scribbled on his prescription pad before raising his head to gaze at me. “You are like the man who comes to the doctor with a stone in his shoe. Mr. Waltz. You want me to give you a painkiller so you can’t feel the stone. But I don’t do that for my patients. You need to remove the stone from your shoe!” it took me back. I hadn’t expected a lecture or chastisement. But I got his point.
“You have to change the way you live,” he concluded, extending his hand with the “prescription” he had written. As I buttoned my shut, I glanced at what he had written. The prescription was the title of a book he advised me to read. Quite humbled, I stopped at the bookstore and bought the paperback version. That evening, I read the book, which attributed many diseases and physical suffering to stress. I didn’t need more convincing to prove how I lived caused my stomach discomfort, but I realized that I could worsen things if I didn’t follow his counsel.
Today’s verse reminds the wisdom of the “discerning” or “sensible “person to step back and look at the way they are living. The Hebrew word refers to “consider” or “perceive” our way of life in this verse’s context. In my case, I was being foolish and endangering my health back then. Nevertheless, I accepted the wisdom in that doctor’s advice and, over time, changed my commitments to remove the painful “stone” in my life.