“We have forgotten God. We have forgotten the gracious hand which preserved us in peace and multiplied and enriched and strengthened us, and we have vainly imagined in the deceitfulness of our hearts that all these blessings were produced by some superior wisdom and virtue of our own. Intoxicated with unbroken success, we have become too proud to pray to the God that made us.” – Abraham Lincoln
Vice President Pence led a prayer with the coronavirus task force in his West Wing office. His political opponents mocked him specifically, and faith in God generally. It’s as though entreating the Creator to grant wisdom for scientists to defeat a virus is anti-science. Those angry critics are smug in their own “superior wisdom.”
A virus is a product of a fallen world that has become something other than God’s original design. Even so, when scientists explore nature they learn about that design. The Bible says God can be known and “understood through what has been made.” But it adds a warning. “Even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened” (Rom. 1:21). Even Einstein recognized late in life the futility of science without God. He said, “I want to know God’s thoughts – the rest are mere details.”
Solomon was ancient Israel’s wisest king. When God offered to grant what Solomon might request, he eschewed wealth and military prowess to ask for wisdom. That God-given wisdom to judge was famously on display when he settled the dispute between two women claiming the same baby (1 Kings 3). God’s wisdom is as applicable to government now, as then. Those who disagree have resorted to prayer-shaming those who remember to seek wisdom from its highest source.
Have you heard the saying, “You can’t blame a blind man for stepping on your foot”? Prayer-shamers don’t know any better. The Bible says “the word of the cross is foolishness” to them. Unbelief deprives a person from knowing the ultimate expression of wisdom, which is not about science or government. It’s about a Person. “You are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God” (1 Cor. 1). To know Him is to know Wisdom.
No one wants to be a fool. You need wisdom to make sense of the world, discern whose counsel to accept, and anticipate the consequences of your choices. The good news is that the Creator offers the benefit of wisdom to those who ask. “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously” (Jam. 1:5).
Lincoln’s charge is still valid today. Heed his warning to be humble and remember to pray that God grant you wisdom far superior to your own.