"Now two women who were harlots came to the king . . . ."

And Solomon said: "You have shown great mercy to Your servant David my father, because he walked before You in truth, in righteousness, and in uprightness of heart with you; You have continued this great kindness for him, and You have given him a son to sit on his throne, as it is this day. Now, O LORD my God, You have made Your servant king instead of my father David, but I am a little child; I do not know how to go out or come in. And Your servant is in the midst of Your people whom You have chosen, a great people, too numerous to be numbered or counted. Therefore give to Your servant an understanding heart to judge Your people, that I may discern between good and evil. For who is able to judge this great people of Yours?"

The speech pleased the LORD, that Solomon had asked this thing. (1 Kings 3:6-10)

Thought exercise: if you asked God for crazy wisdom, and He told you that He had given it to you, how would you expect Him to test you? In my mind's eye, I see arbitration between nations, peacemaking, Nobel Prize-worthy stuff. I mean, it only makes sense. King-sized wisdom deserves some kind of amazing demonstration, with some incredibly thorny, important question. Right? Right.

That's not how God rolls. God grants Solomon's request, because He is seriously pleased with the direction of Solomon's heart. He says, "Because you have asked for this thing, and have not asked long life for yourself, nor have asked riches for yourself, nor have asked the life of your enemies, but have asked for yourself understanding to discern justice, behold, I have done according to your words; see, I have given you a wise and understanding heart, so that there has not been anyone like you before you, nor shall any like you arise after you"(11-12). Then God offers Solomon a chance to demonstrate his "understanding to discern justice." How? 

A lady problem. And not just any lady problem--this is maybe as tawdry as it gets. It's like Jerry Springer meets Real Housewives of Tenth Century BC. You know the story. Two prostitutes approach the king, with one baby between them. Each claims to be the baby's mother. Neither is willing to back down. So Solomon, like any rational person, orders his soldiers to cut the baby in half, at which point the baby's mother offers to give him up to the other woman. It's super dramatic. But it also proves to all the kingdom that God has given Solomon wisdom "to administer justice" (28).

Solomon is tested by the mundane. God has made him a promise (wisdom), and now he has to walk it out when he can't see the glory of it. There's no glory in this story, no grandeur, no high honor. And yet, perhaps the truest test of wisdom is whether it works for the lowest of the low. If Solomon wants to administer justice, he has to start with the least of these. 

This stuck out to me. I think all believers are tested by the mundane, by the ridiculous. Faith that is only good in the most dramatic circumstances isn't much good at all. Faith has to be walked out when faced with the ridiculous, the tedious, the irritating. What do you think Joseph did in prison all day? Or Abraham, in the wilderness? That's a lot of dead time, with nothing much to motivate great acts of faith. How about Daniel, with daily administrative responsibilities in the land of captivity, or Mary, in a house full of crying children?

Sometimes the things that shape our faith come in fancy packages, shaded by all kinds of drama; sometimes they come wrapped in cardboard. They too demonstrate God's work in us.

Prayer requests
  • Energy. Doing things in another language, concentrating harder on everything around me, reading labels in another language, and trying to translate for myself/talk around words when my English suddenly fails, is making me very tired. Also having to make decisions about lots of things when I don't feel like I have enough information is making me very tired.
  • Wisdom. I do need wisdom as I start scheduling my time. My primary goal is to learn as much Spanish as I can, and this takes not only intentional class time, but also down time where I memorize and work on homework by myself. I will also need to be vigilant over some sort of genuine sabbath-type time, because it's just hard to get enough rest. 
  • Emotions. I feel like a crazy person. I think I skipped the honeymoon stage of culture shock and went straight into madness.
  • I finally saw my ankles this morning, briefly! My hands and feet are still pretty swollen. My toes are red enough to look like little fruit on the ends of my feet. Please pray for my body to adapt to its new environment.
  • Relationships. To have good ones. Especially to establish good patterns of communication with my friend. We're praying together every night, which is wonderful.
  • I had a good time at church this morning. They actually sang a song that we used to sing at the North Shore Iranian Church (in Farsi, obvs.), which was good for my heart. There was also this one song that had a chorus that said, "He didn't take you this far to leave you behind; He brought you here to take the land He gave you," which I was pretty sure was specifically for me.
  • Reconnecting with people was pretty great today. I also got to talk to one girl who will be my language helper, and my friend was able to set up a time for me to meet with a language teacher. We'll be meeting tomorrow morning to do an assessment and start working together.
  • God provided more than I expected to be able to use for language help, which is amazing.
  • I had a really nice time talking with a couple of the teenagers at CPD. I look forward to hanging out with them. 
  • I have a promise I'm trying to bank on, rather than making decisions based on sight. Please pray that I would continue to grasp this particular promise by faith, rather than becoming discouraged, frustrated, and angry.
Thank you for praying for me!

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