Goshen College’s Study-Service Term (SST) can be a simultaneously difficult and eye-opening experience. On SST, students spend three months in a developing country, where they live with host families, study language and history, and serve those in their host nation. During the 6-week service portion of my SST experience in Peru last summer, I found myself in the Andean city of Tarma, teaching math and English to sixth grade students. It was an assignment that often required all of my patience, but it was also perhaps the most rewarding thing I’ve ever done.
I believe ‘wisdom’ is a fitting word to describe what I gained on my SST. This wisdom, however, was unlike anything I had learned in a classroom. It was a far cry from the physics formulas and programming syntax that usually fill my textbooks, and it was the kind of knowledge that required more than just my brain. The wisdom I found on SST was a wisdom gained through new experiences and unfamiliar situations. It was the result of careful observations and countless mistakes. It was wisdom bundled with love, patience and compassion.
This week’s theme is “Making wise the simple.” The Scripture verses this week show us a variety of ways that God reveals wisdom. This wisdom can come in the form of rules for our relationship with God or for our relationships with others. We are reminded that God’s wisdom is trustworthy and refreshing, even though it may be radically different from the wisdom that we encounter in the world around us. Like what I experienced on SST, it is wisdom that is intertwined with love and compassion. My simple notions of what it would be like to live in another country were transformed by the wisdom my experiences offered. As we approach Easter, this week’s Scripture prepares us to be transformed by the refreshing wisdom of God.