A Fool I Was!
by Sam Williamson
Shortly after graduating from university, I
took a trip with my new boss to a conference. He
was about to give an important presentation, but
over dinner he remarked that he hadn’t had a
haircut for a long time. He wished he looked more
presentable. I offered to cut his hair for him. He
asked how good I was. I replied, “I’ve never had a
I had never had a complaint because I had never
cut anybody’s hair. Not even once. But I had
worked in a barbershop as a kid, and I watched
thousands of haircuts. I thought I knew enough.
And I did. My boss loved the haircut, and I
continued to cut his hair the next couple of
Twenty years later, though, I looked back on that
decision, and I thought, “What a fool I was.” I
should have at least let my boss make an informed
While I could see the foolishness in me of twenty
years before, I was now forty, and I felt pretty
confident about my ability to wisely balance
co-owning a software company with a wholesome
family life and a healthy spiritual life.
Today I look back on my misplaced
confidence—thinking I could manage a company,
family, and spiritual life—and I think, “What a
fool I was.” I made more (and bigger) mistakes in
that “successful” season of life than I ever had
And I wonder: Twenty years from now, what kind
of fool will I see I am today?
Last week, I read the story of King Jehoshaphat.
He is one of the “good” kings. Scripture says,
“The Lord was with Jehoshaphat, because he walked
in the ways of David (2 Chron. 17:3). He was also
a powerful king, and for most of his reign,
neighboring kingdoms paid him tribute.
In his later years, though, three enemy kingdoms
formed a coalition to destroy him. He is told that
a “multitude is coming against you.” And he turns
to the Lord. Jehoshaphat is at the pinnacle of his
career: he is stronger than he’s ever been; his
kingdom is at it richest under his rule; and his
wisdom is just peaking. He prays:
Lord … we do not know what to do.
(2 Chronicles 20:12)
I wonder if the epitome of wisdom—the meaning of
my gray hair—is to admit, “Lord, in all my wisdom,
I finally realize, I do not know what to do.
And I probably never did.”
The Battle Belongs
to the Lord
I have a friend who I believe is making a mistake
in his life. I think my discernment may actually
be from the Lord. I wanted to tell my friend what
he’s doing wrong. But a couple weeks ago I read
this quote from Oswald Chambers:
Beware of getting ahead of God by your
very desire to do His will. We run ahead of Him
in a thousand and one activities, becoming so
burdened with people and problems that we don’t
worship God, and we fail to intercede.
God is calling me simply to pray for my friend. It
feels weird. As though prayer isn’t enough, as
though my friend needs my wise words more than
God. Which is stupid of me. Foolish even.
When King Jehoshaphat seeks God’s word for this
upcoming battle, God speaks: “Do not be afraid and
do not be dismayed at this great horde, for the
battle is not yours but God’s.”
As I get older, and hopefully wiser, and as my
hair turns gray, I am coming to realize that all
the battles are the Lord’s, not mine. There are
times God may ask me to raise a sword, but even
then, the battle belongs to the Lord, not me.
God is saying to this graybeard, “Get off of my
throne!” (And step away from the barber stool.)
P. S. Sometimes in the middle of our lives we
wonder, “Is this all there is?” It isn’t. God
wants more riches for us in our lives.
Sam Williamson has published
numerous articles and has written two books.
He has a blog site, www.beliefsoftheheart.com,
and can be reached at
God in Conversation: How to Recognize
His Voice Everywhere, by Samuel C.
Williamson, published by Kregel
Publications, 2016, available from Amazon
photo by Edgar Chaparro on Unsplash