Lord, my heart is not proud; my eyes are not haughty. I don’t concern myself with matters too great or too awesome for me to grasp. Psalm 131:1
I loved college. It was stimulating to be in a place where students loved to learn and professors loved to teach. The constant challenge of new ideas gave me fresh perspectives on life. And though I could see there was so much more to learn than what I could pack into bachelor of arts degree, I had a sense that I was mastering the knowledge presented. It wasn’t until I went to medical school that I was completely overwhelmed with the vastness of knowledge. I realized there was no way I could be an expert in every aspect of the human body, let alone the thousands of other scholarly disciplines known to man.
The beginning of wisdom is the understanding of my own limitations. Humility is a necessary ingredient in knowing God and allowing Him to work in our lives. There are so many unanswered questions. There are so many unanswerable questions. But we do not readily admit such things because we worship knowledge. As a society, we are pushing the frontiers of knowledge everyday. We believe we can solve any problem and answer any question. So we have developed GMO foods to feed the world, alternative fuels to feed our hunger for energy, and pharmaceuticals to heal our diseases.
And yet for every problem solved, there seems to be two more that develop. Many times the very solutions to problems are the creation of new ones. In our search for knowledge, which is an innate characteristic of the human species, we are well served to have a humility of spirit that grasps the limits of our ability to perceive and ascertain what is beyond our reach. This is the essence of the serenity prayer:
God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.
And so I seek to know God’s will above all other knowledge and to experience His love. Perhaps the best way to do this is to enjoy each day one moment at a time no matter if that day brings heartaches or joy. I have discovered that the greatest knowledge is often found not in answering why something has happened, but in how God wants me to respond. Sometimes we can only answer the how question by having the humility to forget about the why question.
And so my prayer today is that my heart will not be proud nor my eyes haughty. Rather, I seek humility of spirit to experience God, to know His will, and to allow His love to be expressed to others in my words and actions. As I live this prayer through the power of God, I find that the knowledge of humility is indeed the key to knowledge itself.