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Finding God in the Story of Your Life

The foolishness of God

Today I’m participating in the Lenten Blog Tour. Be sure to visit other blogs on the tour–some really thoughtful posts are already up, and some amazing writers are participating.

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In a few days, my daughter will board a plane bound for South Africa. With a dozen other teenagers from our church and a few adults, she’ll go to visit the ministries our church supports in Cape Town and Johannesburg. She’ll be educated, in the best sense of the word, about culture and faith, about physical poverty and spiritual wealth. Or at least, that’s what I’m praying for. That she will see, in a fresh way, how Jesus loves all the little children of the world.

Another traveler, the Apostle Paul, wrote: “In God’s wisdom, he determined that the world wouldn’t come to know him through its wisdom. Instead, God was pleased to save those who believe through the foolishness of preaching. Jews ask for signs, and Greeks look for wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified, which is a scandal to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles. But to those who are called—both Jews and Greeks—Christ is God’s power and God’s wisdom. This is because the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength.” (1 Corinthians 1:21-25, Common English Bible).

Extended family members consider my daughter’s trip both a scandal and foolishness, and loudly question our wisdom as parents. Can’t she be a do-gooder here in Chicago? Certainly, she could. But God’s foolishness is higher than our wisdom. I keep thinking, “But to those who are called…” This is an opportunity that will form my daughter spiritually. Such formation sometimes involves risk, involves embracing God’s wisdom, which certainly looks quite different from the world’s.

It is somehow appropriate that her trip happens to fall during Lent. Lent is a time of releasing our grasp on things we never really had in the first place; in other words, the stripping of illusions of control. It’s a time of paying attention to the calling of God, of “preaching Christ crucified” by willingly crucifying our desires for safety and comfort. It is a time of consciously following God’s wisdom rather than worldly wisdom, which would say in the face of global poverty, “just write a check,” at best, and “ignore and avoid” more commonly.

It also feels significant that my first-born will celebrate her 17th birthday on the other side of the planet. I’ve seen the stirrings of God in her heart lately, as she’s begun her college search: she’s interested in anything global or international. The idea of a semester or year abroad makes her heart race. How can she pay attention to that, to see what God is calling her to, except to follow?

Her support letter was so heartfelt she brought in almost twice as much as was needed for her trip. As a mother, I’m proud of her. I deeply respect the competence with which she navigates life and the faith with which she follows Jesus. Part of my Lenten journey this year is to embrace God’s wisdom as higher than my own, higher than my in-laws’. I am called to trust that wisdom in a way that is not just theoretical.

Scripture in this post was taken from the new Common English Bible. To win a free copy of the Common English Bible New Testament, just leave a comment below!

8 Comments

  1. Keri,

    I feel as though if our children are being obedient to the passions that God has given them and not listening to the wisdom of the world we should be rejoicing in that. Not that it isn’t hard to ignore the comments of others about the decisions our children are making. I have taken youth on mission trips to Chicago and Mexico (I’m in the midwest) and there is something to be said about leaving the familiarity of home so that they can see God work in things that they don’t deal with in thier everyday lives. Thank you for sharing your heart and the reminder to follow God’s wisdom rather than the worlds.

    Blessings

  2. Foolishness is something we-most people are afraid to be labeled of. Sometimes it is really the hardest part with surrender, trusting that God is at work on our favor. But there is nothing more fulfilling than to know that God is on our side and that His presence is with us rather than to keep doing things we thought to believe we are on God’s side. And yes I agree with you Keri when you said that God’s wisdom is more than just theoretical knowledge, because Paul said further in 1 Corinthians that “Knowledge puffs up, but Love builds up” (1 Corinthians 8:1b NIV). Sometimes other people are just too technical with the word of God that they end up pouring personal judgment on others. They just don’t realize that “For the foolishness of God is wiser than man’s wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than man’s strength.” (1 Corinthians 1:25).

  3. Thanks, Keri! As someone raised Pentecostal, which means, in this application, that we didn’t follow ritual or liturgy, I’ve never observed Lent. I’m currently attending a Presbyterian church and attempting to reconcile the pastor’s love of liturgy with my love of spontaneity in worship. Still not sure how this is going to gel. But one of the advantages, I think, is that in past years when Easter arrived I was celebrating the resurrection without having thought about what led up to it, beyond perhasp a stirring Palm Sunday sermon. So I’m trying to be more deliberate in approaching Easter this year. I’m not ready to “give something up,” but I’ve been looking for some daily readings this year. I’ll start with your blog. 🙂 And I loved the Common English Bible translation!

  4. Keri,
    I have just started reading your book Simple Compassion….In fact, I have only read the preface and week 1, but I am hooked. This book is an answer to prayer for me, and I feel it was sent to me for a purpose. In recent months, I have been struggling with the hypocrisy and simpleness of organized religion. I have been reading about finding a more profound inner peace but almost everything I have found seems to point in directions other than God. Your book seems like it focuses on a personal relationship and finding peace within that relationship… I can’t wait to read it all the way through!

    I think the fact that you are allowing your daughter to go abroad for missions is amazing, and even though I am sure it was a complex decision preceded by much prayer, I think it will be phenomenal for her to have experience.

    Good luck and God bless you!

  5. Thanks all for your comments. Glad to have you here. I hope you’ll browse around and read some past blog posts–the one from yesterday has an opportunity to win a copy of my newest book!
    Mandi, I appreciate your comments on Simple Compassion. always great to be a part of an answered prayer.
    Kim, I agree. My daughter has served with me at a homeless shelter in Chicago many times, and this trip was not my idea at all–totally God calling her. She’s an amazing young woman!

  6. God bless you Keri for taking this type of risk. People who criticize simply do not get it and you are parenting in a bold and graceful way by doing this. I have prayed for you tonight in Rome, where I’ve been in dialogs with Catholic leaders for eight days, a trip I was told not to take by the same kind of people who tell you not to take your daughter to South Africa. Real faith takes risks, measured as they are and proper to our ability and responsibility, but risks are risks. May God increase your faith and love and bless the daylights out of your daughter. What a great way to spend part of Lent, sacrificing time and comfort to go the distance in learning new obedience. Christ be with you!

  7. Thanks for the reminder that we are all about the “foolishness of God.”

    Thanks also for the faithful parenting example. As part of a clergy couple with two toddlers, it’s an encouraging and challenging example for us to keep in mindas we move through life!

  8. “the foolishness of preaching”…it’s good to be reminded it’s not about us and yet God is not only willing to use us, but does. truly humbling. thanks for sharing.

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  1. March 12 Lenten Reflection, 1 Corinthians 1:21-25, Keri Wyatt Kent | Lenten Blog Tour - [...] Read today’s reflection on the Lenten Blog Tour, written by author and speaker Keri Wyatt Kent. [...]

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