"Long life is in her right hand; in her left hand are riches and honor." (NIV)
The subject of this verse is wisdom. If you substitute the subject into the verse, it would read, " Long life is in wisdom's right hand; in wisdom's left hand are riches and honor." The author is Solomon - the wisest man on earth.. Through the Holy Spirit, Solomon wrote the majority of the Proverbs. He also collected and compiled the rest of the writings from other great men of his time. Solomon's goal was to teach people how to take God's principals and apply them to everyday living. Wisdom is the main theme of Proverbs, but there are lots of topics involved: honesty, self-control, morality, marriage, parenting, how to handle oneself in business - to name a few. Since God will be the final judge of all we do, applying His wisdom is certainly good advice.
God can use almost anything to teach His people. In the story I'm about to share, God used an animal to demonstrate wisdom for me. Only God could have known what I would need to know...
Years ago when I was a home health nurse, I was making my visits in the countryside of rural Georgia. Because of the seriousness of this particular patient's condition, he required daily nursing visits. And, as often is the case with this type of nurse-patient relationship, I had become good friends with Mr Wellborn, his family, and his pets... several dogs and several cats, all of which I knew by name, and all of which would come running to greet me when I arrived each morning.
But, one day a new cat greeted me. He was a beautiful black and silver tabby, with a white "tuxedo" in the front, very expressive eyes, and a constant smile on his little face. When I opened the car door, the cat jumped in! He spoke to me. He didn't say the typical "Meow". He said, "Ooomp-yow". Amused, I removed him from my car, made my nursing visit, and went on with my day.
Next day, same thing. Cat into car. "Ooomp-yow". Out of car. Me into house to do nursing visit. I asked the Wellborns what their new cat's name was, but they explained that he wasn't theirs. He had simply shown up one day, and they could not keep him.
Same scenario for two weeks. Open car door. Cat jumps in. SO happy to see me! Those eyes... "Ooomp-yow!" In my mind I was calling him Spanky. One day, my patient's daughter, with tears in her eyes, told me that they had found a home for Spanky. A farmer acquaintance of theirs was going to take him to be a barn cat; he would pick him up in a few days... Then she said, "I think he needs a better home than that. We have been praying that he would live with you." SIGH. Arrangements were made and Spanky came home with me two days later.
And Spanky was a wonderful pet. Everybody loved him. So smart. So funny. Never, ever, ever got up on a table or a kitchen counter... such a good boy.
But, then one evening he got hit by a car. The Vet had to amputate his left arm at the shoulder joint. He had several other injuries as well, and it was touch-and-go for a while. I took him home the second day, because the Vet felt he would be more likely to recover at home with me. I washed him and fed him like an infant. Talked to him. Sang to him. Despite my efforts, Spanky became very depressed, much like people do when they lose a limb or experience any major change in body image. I got up every two hours during the night to coax Spanky to eat or drink. And I sobbed aloud the first time he looked at me and said, "Oooomp-yow".
Spanky, also known as "Mr Oooomp", recovered and got around amazingly well. He was strong and courageous, and remained very friendly. He learned to use his right paw for washing, etc. (Most cats are left-handed.)
Years later, I developed a serious medical problem. I had to deal with body image changes. I was unable to use my right arm, and barely able to use my right leg. I had to learn to use my left hand for washing, eating, etc. Dealing with disability is not easy; you take one step forward, then two backwards again. You start to think, "Hey, I'm doing okay". And then you have a setback. And then you cry.
Pets have this wonderful sensitivity about them. If I was lonely, or tired, or in pain... all I needed was that sweet little face nearby... and "Oooomp-yow". Spanky was there, telling me, "I know just how you feel... It will be alright." Spanky has since passed away, but I will never forget how much comfort that funny little fellow was.
I have often told Spanky's story to demonstrate how wise God is. He had me nurse Spanky back to health; then, He had Spanky help take care of me. Spanky learned to completely trust me during his illness, and I learned to completely trust God during mine. I learned that God would never leave me or forsake me. God had used a simple animal to reveal to me His wisdom.
Wisdom. The application of knowledge. Nothing happens by chance when you walk with God.