Yesterday when I was walking Savannah, a six-year-old girl ran up to me—pretending to be brave and attempting to hide her fear. She had been playing with two older girls who abruptly ran away and left her alone in a strange neighborhood. She couldn’t find her friends and she couldn’t find her home. Savannah and I walked with the child until she got home.
The scary thing is what could have happened. She could have been kidnapped. She could have been attacked by a dog. She could have been injured in a fall, or from getting hit by a car, or a bike. Her friends never thought of possible dangers when they ran away and left her—they were enjoying a laugh, totally oblivious to the distress of their young friend. Thankfully, God protected the child.
The Bible says that wisdom comes from God. It does. It also comes from experience. What we know now protects us from a certain amount of danger.
When I was a kid, I used to squash pokeberries and paint purple spots on my white horse for the school carnival. I rode the horse to the carnival and charged a quarter for rides on “A Horse of a Different Color.” The money went to the school.
At one carnival, an older boy who had his own horse and considered himself an expert rider asked to hold Ali while I ran into the bathroom. I warned him that Ali did not like strangers, especially boys. Norton promised not to ride Ali while I was gone.
I got back to my booth. It was empty. No Norton. No Ali. Norton had decided that no girl was going to tell him not to ride her horse. Ali took off and galloped the mile home across a busy two-lane highway and down a red dirt road. When the horse stopped sharply at my house, Norton flew off Ali and landed in the yard in front of my grandmother—which Norton later said was the scariest part of the ride. Grandmother was convinced that Norton had stolen the horse.
Norton could have been killed. Ali could have been killed. Drivers on that busy highway could have been killed. God protected them. God even protected Norton from one very angry grandmother!
Some fifteen years ago, I built a garden center out of concrete blocks and hired someone to put the roof on it while I was at work. I knew how to build with rocks, concrete blocks, and cement—but I didn’t know how to build a roof. Neither did he.
Because he didn’t know how to drill into concrete and attach the wooden support beams to the concrete floor, he used Gorilla Glue. It lasted one year. It lasted two years. On the third year, an updraft wind from a good old Texas thunderstorm snatched the roof up off the building and slammed it down again. Fortunately, no one was inside and no one got hurt. God’s protection.
Putting a roof on a building with Gorilla Glue makes a funny story—but the outcome could have been disastrous. What I know now.
What I know now should keep me from making harsh judgments (it doesn’t always) when I see people doing foolish things or hear them making brainless comments. Building wisdom through experience takes time.
Still, the best advice of all is from the Bible. “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him.” James 1:5.
God gives wisdom without reproach. I shout.