Matthew 10:16 – Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves. (KJV)

Ecclesiastes 7:12b – Wisdom gives life to the one who possesses it. (NRSV)

A man on a ladder across the street was cleaning out the eavestroughs of a small apartment complex. "Would you do mine when you're finished?" I called out. "Sure," he said. He came over about half an hour later, did a decent job on my stopped-up gutters, and charged a reasonable sum. "I also need a banister put up on the stairs," I said. I took him inside to view the job, paid him cash to buy the materials, and arranged a time to begin.

But he didn't show up. I dusted off my memory of how contractors work, and I waited. A week later, he came over to tell me that he'd bought the materials but they were in a buddy's truck on an island. Meanwhile, his long-lost daughter was coming to visit. Could he have an advance on the job? I gave him more cash. After all, he lived right across the street. We arranged a time to begin. He didn't show up.

Two weeks later, he came over, hat in hand. He could begin on Wednesday. I waited around all day Wednesday. He didn't show up. Talking to a neighbour, I mentioned him, and she said, "Well, after all, he is a heroin addict — always has been, since I've known him." The man came over again at the end of the week. "Bad news," he said. "My buddy's truck was broken into and they took the materials for your banister." He eyed me to see how this was going down. "So, I'll need money to replace them."

I shook my head. No. But I knew who was responsible for all this: I was. I hadn't waited for what I call the sacred pause, praying just for a moment to ask for God's help before I made the decision that turned out to be enabling this man's addiction, not once, but twice. I asked for God's forgiveness, and then, I forgave him. He went away looking puzzled. I pray for his release from addiction.

When we pause to pray for God's help, His wisdom always comes, and we are enabled to see beyond ourselves into the truth.

Prayer: Dear God of all power, thank You for the opportunity to consult You before we act. We are grateful that through Your grace, our wounds can be turned into wisdom that deepens and grows. Help Your children who are controlled by addiction to call to You for help to resist evil and find the freedom that You offer as they find their way to You. Please take our lives and emotions, and manage them as You see fit. In Jesus' name, we pray. Amen.

About the author:

Rose DeShaw <>
Kingston, Ontario, Canada

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