A wise man would not speak, or even think under such circumstances,
knowing sin was knocking at the door.
However, I was a fool.
I hesitate to speak now; to my shame sufficient has been said
to condemn me ten times ten and more
based on foolish words hastily spoken.
In the beginning I was as you see me now, but different.
I knew His hand then, but had not seen His face.
Folly clouded my vision.
I thought I had resigned myself to accept whatever He chose to give
even when what He gave meant taking all I had.
That was wise thinking, for a fool.
Oh cruel misconception, I determined not to sin with my mouth,
forgetting that the mouth only follows where the mind takes it.
Unfortunately, foolish thoughts prevailed.
My friends came, and in those early days mourned with me in silence,
for there were no words to ease our common bond of suffering.
That stillness kept fools from their folly.
I should not have listened, certainly not have spoken, when they insisted
that some wrong had been committed on my part,
that I had been a fool.
Somehow, I must have grievously offended the Most High, they reasoned.
Why else would He punish me as He had so obviously done?
Foolish assumptions were made without evidence.
Silence would have been the best answer a man could give but,
I had to speak, to convince them of my innocence.
That was a fool’s exercise and errand.
“Defend your cause,” they cried with unholy zeal and misguided enthusiasm.
“Take your case to the highest court, to God Himself.”
As if fools could argue with the Almighty.
My mind searched the depths of my soul looking for sin, and finding none,
so it thought, rebelled, and began to consider that perhaps
my friends were not so foolish after all.
If I had done no wrong, then God must have made a mistake.
He must have meant this evil for someone else.
That mistake was this particular fool’s to make.
No longer quiet under God’s hand as it had been in the beginning, my mind tumbled
in directions a wiser man would not have allowed it to go.
It was to be a fool’s journey.
“I will make a defense,” I cried to myself. “I will convince God of His mistake.
I will have my day in the celestial courts, and He will see the truth.”
He who defends himself has a fool for counsel.
The mind fought and argued, and the undisciplined tongue soon followed,
spilling out words that added certain guilt to presumed innocence
and condemned me for a fool.
The peace I had felt in the midst of my early pain, fled—
Soiled by muddy arguments based on dirty lies:
It was a fool’s pigpen to wallow in.
In spite of my struggles and abused by my errant words, the heavens were silent,
muted, so I thought, by my clever reasoning and passion.
How fools deceive themselves.
Then one day, as I beat again upon the gates of heaven without success,
a storm arose, and the Almighty spoke at last, and at length.
This fool was finally silenced.
“Those who know nothing should speak less,” He thundered in my ear.
“If you want answers, you have to ask the right questions.”
Thus was darkness penetrated and wisdom conceived.
“Where were you when the earth was born, when the seas took their appointed places?
Have you been to the heights of Heaven, or to the gates of Hell?”
Fledgling wisdom kept her counsel.
“Does lightning obey your command? Do raindrops dance to your wishes?
Can you will the hawk to fly, or the horse to race with the wind?”
Wisdom acknowledged her limits.
“Who are you to make darkness out of light, nonsense out of sense,
and turn into earthly ignorance what possesses heavenly understanding?”
Even wisdom can feel ashamed.
“You, who had so much to say then and so little to contribute now, answer me.
Surely your prosecutor’s eloquence has not failed you?”
“I have no right to reply,” I said, “no words worth saying then, or now.
I spoke foolishly. I speak now only to tell You that I will speak no longer,
for wisdom demands it.”
As at the beginning I am still again, casting myself into the arms of a merciful Justice.
In the courtroom of heaven, my unfailing Defender stands to plead my case
and a wiser man waits quietly for the verdict.
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