I have filled him with the Spirit of God, giving him great wisdom, ability, and expertise in all kinds of crafts. (Exodus 31:3, NLT)
I love this scripture from Exodus (also in Exodus 35). God, in preparing the people of Israel to build the Tabernacle, chose men to create the articles that would go inside. He filled them with “wisdom, ability, and expertise in all kinds of crafts.” This verse shows that God prepares and equips those He calls even if the need is for creativity. However, He commands us to seek wisdom, understanding, and knowledge. God never commands us to seek creativity—maybe because, as His children, He’s already given us that trait.
My child, listen to what I say, and treasure my commands. Tune your ears to wisdom and concentrate on understanding. Cry out for insight and ask for understanding. for the Lord grants wisdom…From his mouth come knowledge and understanding. He grants a treasure of common sense to the honest. He is a shield to those who walk with integrity. He guards the paths of the just and protects those who are faithful to him. (Proverbs 2:1-3, 6-8, NLT)
I learned the importance of understanding when I was young. As a child, I looked up at the sky, but I didn’t see what most see. Most kids see beyond the fluffy white clouds to galaxies and space invaders. Or even if they focus on the clouds, they see horses and ships or at least white cotton candy. Me…I saw a bubble.
I concluded in my immature thinking that we lived inside a bubble. The blue sky was that bubble.
Other times I pictured us being in the belly of some giant that had swallowed us and was now protecting us inside his belly. I would make up stories about this giant. He lived in a land with other giants, but he always protected his world inside his belly. That was his main job. I obviously didn’t know much about digestion at that tender, young age. I knew nothing of galaxies and milky ways either (except for the candy bar variety). Life still had nice giants as well as evil ones in my world. Imagination was by far my favorite “toy.”
In second grade I had a moment that tore down all those pictures in my head. In Miss Carmen’s class we read our Weekly Readers about the Apollo Moon Landing Mission. I loved reading and learning. Science, math, social studies…all of it. Discovering and education were fun.
I was shy, rarely raising my hand to ask questions, but on this day, I had to know. “How do the astronauts get through the lava to reach outer space?” Before I could get the question out, the bell rang, and Miss Carmen said I could ask my question after recess.
At recess I pondered what I was about to ask and realized it made no sense! I knew that the earth center was full of molten rock. I knew about stars and galaxies and solar systems. But somehow in my learning, I had a blind spot. I hadn’t let go of my childish ideas of giants’ bellies and bubbles. Suddenly, a light bulb flashed in my head, and I understood, “We are not on the inside of the earth, but the outside. We are on the top of the world.”
To most people, this may sound like the most absurd, ridiculous thing they’ve ever heard. I mean, how dumb can someone be, right? Yes, I felt a little dumb and ridiculous, but I also felt like I’d discovered the truth when I’d been believing a lie. And I was also so very thankful! You see, I truly understand the meaning of the expression “saved by the bell” because when we got back to the classroom, and Miss Carmen asked me what my question was, I simply said, “That’s okay. I figured it out.” I went back to rarely raising my hand after that. It was safer!
I learned something else that day…actually, I learned several “something elses” that day. I learned that discovery is fun. I learned that thinking through something and reasoning is important. I learned that fairy tales are great too, because when we make up a story, we can take it wherever we want! This one experience, possibly more than any other, developed a thirst in my heart for learning.
I’ve always been told there are no dumb questions. That may be true, but there certainly are premature questions—ones we ask before we really think through what we’re asking.
People have always called me a dreamer, and I know those who said it have usually meant it as a negative comment, but I want to respond with a happy “thank you.” I love dreaming up stories and imagining crazy places and characters.
So, yes, we should and must thirst for truth and knowledge, and more than that, wisdom. However, we should also embrace creativity and creating stories, even nonsensical stories of giants having worlds rumbling around in their tummies.
When I think back to that day in second grade, I realize that even if I had asked that question and was teased mercilessly, I still would have learned the truth. I still would have let go of my silly ideas and traded them for valuable learning. But I am so thankful for the way it all transpired. This way, with thinking through the problem myself, I could keep my fairy tales. They weren’t teased out of me or stomped on by my embarrassment. In fact, they were more mine than they were before because I had created them.
Thinking is a gift. Reasoning together is a blessing. Creativity is God’s fingerprint on our minds. That day I learned to appreciate them all.
To acquire wisdom is to love yourself; people who cherish understanding will prosper. (Proverbs 19:8, NLT)