A few weeks ago the graduating seniors walked through the halls of our elementary school, high-fiving kindergartners and hugging former teachers. Their faces shone with pride and joy and they walked like they held the future in their hands.
Some days I miss that part about being eighteen. At eighteen the future is filled with excitement and possibility, but it’s easy to lose that through the bumps and bruises and disappointments along the way. The headlines and the violence and the national bickering and the loss of hope–it’s enough to make the future feel more like foe than friend. Laugh at the days to come? I’d rather pull the covers over my head and hope the future goes away.
Thewoman of Proverbs 31 is a portrait of a life lived in wisdom. Proverbs opens with wisdom crying out in the street (Proverbs 1:20). The book gives practical advice on how to live wisely and closes with a poetic portrait of wisdom. Proverbs 31 isn’t a to-do list for godly womanhood as much as an example of wisdom in action. It’s as if the book says, okay, everything you’ve learned so far? This is what it looks like.
And one thing wisdom looks like is laughing at the days to come. Facing the future without fear is only possible when you know the God who holds the future. “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding” (Proverbs 9:10). The fear of the Lord is the deep awe and reverence that comes in the presence of the Lord. It is the recognition that God is God and we are not and that God’s holiness and power are too deep to take for granted. Fearing the Lord is an acknowledgement of God’s sovereignty over time and space and confidence in his final victory. When you know the one who holds the future, you don’t have to be afraid.
Because this Proverbs 31 woman is also a warrior, I picture her standing, feet planted, head held high, looking at the future with a grin. Hey future? My God’s got this. So whatever you have to throw at me? Bring. It. On.
And she laughs. Because when you fear the Lord, you don’t have to fear the future.
Q: What helps you face the future without fear?