Wisdom does not always provide easy answers. Neither does it answer the deep questions about life from the same shallow resource pool of information used by the asker to frame their inquiry. Wisdom responds from a deeper source of revelation not considered when there is a demand for a quick and simple answer. God is not nervous or hurried in how He responds to the questions asked by people, neither should we.
Jesus had a unique way of answering questions posed by people trapped by an Earth-bound perspective regarding life and spirituality. He answered some of their questions with a question to help the inquirer step out of the shallows of their current mindset to entertain the depths of a greater reality. The Lord’s encounter with the rich young ruler is one such example. “Good Teacher,” the young man inquires, “What must I do to inherit everlasting life?” Jesus answered, “Why do you call me good?”
Most evangelical Christians would pounce on the opportunity offered by the young man’s question inviting the man to bow his head in the supermarket checkout line to make sure he got saved. I don’t fault those who take this approach. I just think more is at play.
Jesus was after something deep inside the man’s heart – something still uncovered that could hinder Lordship if not addressed. It would require wisely crafted questions to uncover this hidden treasure of possibility.
After telling Jesus he had kept all the Law, the young man asked another question, “What am I still lacking?” Jesus, going deep into the place of the man’s misplaced identity, told him to sell his possessions and give the money to the poor. The Lord’s answer went to the real heart issue, “You must love your neighbor as yourself.” The Scripture tells us the rich young ruler went away sad from this encounter.
Many of our first answers to the questions asked by individuals and the broader culture are not the answers God would provide. Wisdom will ask us to pause before we respond to a surface inquiry. In the pause, revelation has an opportunity to come and help us ask the kind of questions that can actually get to the heart of the issue being addressed. That is the kind of wisdom that has the ability to answer the deepest questions about life if we will give it a place in our dialogue.