The Path To Wisdom

I love a big blue sky and sunny days. It’s part and parcel of living in Australia. But I love bad weather days even more. Not that I think there is any such thing as ‘bad weather’. As a landscape and severe weather photographer, getting out into the natural environment on a stormy day has many rewards. The drama of ever changing clouds. The dark and moody shadows under a rain storm. The brilliance and awe inspiring power of a thunderstorm. The vivid contrast between earth and sky. All these things make weather photography an exciting, challenging and rewarding adventure.

But there is also something very humbling about being in close proximity to a thunderstorm. The shear power and raw energy is both exhilarating and terrifying at the same time. As a thunderstorm approaches, you can feel the atmosphere change. The wind speed increases. The air becomes charged with energy. You can ‘feel’ the power—sense it’s mood— and there is a moment when you begin to question your decision to place yourself in a potentiality high risk environment.

A million thoughts race though your mind. Should I stand defiant—as if I am able to tame the beast that moves towards me—or should I retreat? And then, just when you think you have all your emotions under control, a bolt of lightning shatters the darkness, unleashing the kind of primal power that reminds you just how small you really are. Personally, I find these moments in nature to be very rewarding; spiritual even. To be in the presence of such awesome power does something in my soul. In a strange way—which I can’t quite explain—it’s like the passing storm gathers up all my self loathing, bottled up anger, doubt and fear, and carries it away. It is often a cathartic experience and I come away feeling like I have a little more clarity and insight. I feel at peace with the world and re-energised to face the challenges of life.

The only problem with this is that—like all addictions—the feeling fades and needs to be fed from time to time to maintain the effect. Surely there is a better, more lasting way to achieve this sense of peace and well-being?

As I was reading through the story of Job recently, my attention was drawn to one particular idea; that in the midst of the chaos called life, God invites us to allow Him to show us the true path to wisdom.

“God alone understands the way to wisdom; he knows where it can be found, for he looks throughout the whole earth and sees everything under the heavens. He decided how hard the winds should blow and how much rain should fall. He made the laws for the rain and laid out a path for the lightning. Then he saw wisdom and evaluated it. He set it in place and examined it thoroughly. And this is what he says to all humanity: ‘The fear of the Lord is true wisdom; to forsake evil is real understanding.’”

Job 28:23-28

It intrigues me that there is an irony to finding wisdom; as it can only be found along an ancient, narrow path—the path of fearing God—a path that only God can lead you down. The irony, is that in knowing God must lead you there, is itself wisdom. Storms come and go, but God is our ever present guide in life.

Father… lead us into your wisdom. Holy Spirit… help me to follow.

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