Yesterday morning, our daughter, Lydia, gave birth to Botlhale Douglas Mangwathe. Gee and Lydia are rejoicing at God’s kindness to them, as is our entire family (Psalm 127:1). God has been kind to them, and to us.
At 6:30 AM yesterday morning, Botlhale entered a whole new world. After nine months in lockdown, with a little bit of legroom and a whole lot of darkness, everything changed in a moment. Someone tenderly grabbed him, there was a bright light, he started to cry, and was immediately bundled in a warm blanket and then in even warmer arms of love.
From the womb to a hospital theatre to a hospital suite. That’s quite a whole new world for this little guy. But there are many more adjustments and lessons ahead of him.
From now on, when he is hungry, he’ll need to let his mother know. (And—boy!—will he let her know!) When he is uncomfortable, he’ll need some way of communicating this, other than kicking her. He will soon learn that he is not the only kid around and that the solitude he enjoyed inside his mother will soon become a fading memory as he shares a home with mom and dad and big sister. As he grows older and begins to face the adventures and adversities of life, he will realise what a big and often challenging world this is. To handle it well, he will need what his name means: wisdom—the wisdom arising from the fear of the Lord (Proverbs 9:10).
Apart from a right relationship with God through the Lord Jesus Christ neither Botlhale, nor you or me, will be able to make sense of life. And I’m especially aware of this as we all face a whole new world.
It’s now a truism that we are all headed for a new normal. I would guess that every area of life is going to be impacted: economy, the functioning of government and our response, grocery shopping, greeting one another (perhaps more permanently with the right elbow of fellowship), family dynamics, education, church life, and gospel ministry. To honour the Lord in this whole new world, we need wisdom that comes from above (James 3:17). Thankfully, we are promised that God freely gives it to those who, because they fear him, will ask him for it (James 1:5).
Brothers and sisters, we are heading for a whole new world. But it’s a world under the rule of the same God: the one whom James tells us never changes (1:17–18). That’s good enough reason to fear him and to ask him for wisdom. He’s been around. He knows what to do and what we must do (Psalm 90:1–2).
As I consider this whole new world, I’m reminded that, like Botlhale, I need the fear of the Lord. I need God’s wisdom for how to live a reverent life in the adventures and adversities ahead. The Bible is filled with this theme, but perhaps in these days the book of James will meet that need in a unique way. I’m going to be reading and praying through these five chapters more regularly. Perhaps you will join me? Together, let’s face this new world with the old truth: “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God … and it will be given him” (James 1:5).