This pastoral passage was first written for LRBC on April 3 2016. I think the passage discussed in this post is important. Some people, like myself, are quite directly called into faith in God (or some aspect of Christian living or understanding) without personal difficulty, perhaps akin to the prior passage; Proverbs 1:20-23. Others, however, must struggle greatly and persevere in this struggle until they reach their object. This post discusses Proverbs 2:1-5, which encourages us to that struggle.
Is there something about God or the Christian life that you know that you just don’t get? It might be an important concept you don’t understand, or it might be an aspect of practical spirituality that you struggle to do. I think Proverbs 2:1-5 could be helpful. It directs the reader to search for ‘wisdom’ and ‘understanding’, but the goal of the search could be broadened whatever worthy thing you lack in the Christian life.
Proverbs 2:1-5 suggests a series of actions that are worth reflecting on. For example, we are advised to ‘incline our hearts’ to the understanding that the writer wants us to seek (v.2). ‘Inclining’ here has the idea of making your heart ready to receive what it is seeking. This should prompt us to consider how we could cultivate our own selves for what we seek – doing the preparatory work that any worthwhile project needs.
Another action is ‘calling out’ and ‘raising your voice’ (v.3), which suggests putting in extra effort when initial attempts fail. That may well mean doing what you find really hard work. If you find it hard to have long deep communings with God, or to read a theological book or to study the Bible for yourself, or simply to grasp the reality or importance of God, this is where that effort could need to be put in.
If these seem to be in the “too hard basket”, then it is time to consider the value of what you seek. The writer of Proverbs likens the value of wisdom to hidden treasure (v.4). If what you seek is truly valuable, then you will know that it is worth all the effort and diligence that the search requires. So – what is it you need to find? How will you begin your search for it?