Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Too lofty to know better

"For wisdom will enter your heart, and knowledge will be pleasant to your soul."
Proverbs 2:10 (NIV)

"Lady, you're growing one of the hardiest poison ivy plants I've ever seen in my life!" declared the lawncare technician.

Moving during our son's junior high school year created incentive to get settled into our new house as quickly as possible. I anticipated him leaving for college within the next year and didn't want to miss a second of time he was at home.

Besides, I thought I had this relocation thing down pat. I experienced three moves and developed a routine that included finding a church, meeting the neighbors, decorating the house, and attending to the lawn. With the speed of a tractor-trailer truck rolling down a highway, I was "executing against plan." Unfortunately, in my exuberance, I didn't consider I just might not know everything.

To create a welcoming first impression, I enthusiastically trimmed plant hedges, cleared debris, and arranged flower beds. I carefully tended one particular plant that was sure to bring smiles of appreciation from guests walking up the front walkway. Giving it just the right amount of water and weeding around its base, the plant grew into a mini-size bush. I felt almost giddy waiting for the foliage to bloom.

And bloom it did; right into the itchiest case of poison ivy rash!

How embarrassing. I was raised on a farm for goodness sake! I grew up picking my way through wild blackberry patches intermingled with the poisonous vine. My mother cautioned me to stay away from its creeping, ivy leaf. Consequently, the technician's toxicodendron radicans analysis hit my sense of pride quite deeply.

In Psalm 139 the psalmist praises the God of all creation acknowledging, "You hem me in--behind and before...Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain." (Psalm 139:5-6) Understanding our intellectual limits, the writer of the New Testament book of James encourages if we lack wisdom, we should ask. God gives generously, without finding fault (James 1:5-7).

We don't have all the answers. In some instances, not knowing what we don't know puts us in danger. Or, like me, maybe you get into trouble because you don't ask the questions you should ask.

A visit to the doctor's office, an injection of Prednisone, and numerous applications of Calamine lotion later, the rash finally disappeared. I, however, learned a lesson in humility that has lasted, especially regarding "ask first."

How about you. Are you tending any weeds?

Blessings, my friend.
Faithfully Following

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