My Daddy was so smart, I just knew he could fix anything that needed fixing.

“Daddy, my dolly just fell apart!” I cried. I’d just gotten it for Christmas, and already the rubber band that held it together had broken. No problem. My smart Daddy could fix it.

“Daddy, I hurt.” Daddy’s simple remedy in that pre-antibiotic era? A dose of castor oil in sweet, cold orange juice.

“Daddy, a bully keeps chasing me home from school trying to kiss me.” My smart Daddy didn’t flex his muscles and vow to knock the kid’s head off like I wanted him to. Rather, he knew I need to learn how to handle a bully.

“Bullies are cowards,” he said. “Get a real big stick and tell him you’re going to whack him with it if he bothers you again.” So the next day, when the kid started chasing me, I lifted one end of a huge tree branch and said, in a shaky voice, “I’m gonna hit you with this it you try it.” (I couldn’t even lift the branch, let alone swing it.) I was surprised at how quickly that mean kid tore off for home.

Strange, it never occurred to me that the people I leaned on with such trust and expectation would themselves need someone to counsel them, protect them, give them strength and wisdom. Now I know how heavy was the burden for my father, and for anyone who carries the weight of responsibility for others.

When President Harry Truman said, “The buck stops here,” I don’t think he was bragging about his awesome authority. Rather, I think, he was confessing the enormity of the burden of making wise decisions that would determine the welfare of millions of United States citizens. Where would he find the wisdom he so urgently needed?

This us a time of unprecedented assault on every side. We’re threatened by new and devastating diseases, with no sure word of how to handle them. The fabric of our beloved country is shredded into factions with no seemingly common ground. The financial catastrophe of national and personal debt looms over us. It’s a time when those in charge, the people whom we expect to show us the right way, dither and argue among themselves. Whom among the disagreeing professionals should we follow? They are only human after all.

There’s only one answer for anyone in authority, whether parent or employer, opinion-maker or civic leader. We can trust only in our wise God, our Creator, the only One who can show us the right way, and, thank God, who eagerly waits to help us. James 1:2-5 promises it.

Dear brothers and sisters, whenever trouble comes your way,
let it be an opportunity for joy.
For when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow.
So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed,
you will be strong in character and ready for anything.
If you need wisdom–if you want to know what God wants you to do–
ask Him, and He will gladly tell you.
He will not resent your asking.

Oh yes, my smart Daddy could depend on God’s wisdom—as he certainly did. So can I.
So can you. If only we will seek it from God Himself! How He yearns to help us!

A Word of Encouragement from Elizabeth Rice Handford