In 1373, when Julian of Norwich was thirty years old, she became ill and nearly died. When her minister prayed with her, she experienced a number of visions in which she considered Jesus’ crucifixion. After miraculously recovering her health, she spent the next twenty years living in solitude in a side room of the church, praying over and thinking through the experience. She concluded that “love was his meaning”; that is, that Christ’s sacrifice is the supreme manifestation of God’s love.
Julian’s revelations are famous, but what people often overlook is the time and effort she spent prayerfully working out what God revealed to her. In those two decades, she sought to discern what this experience of His presence meant as she asked Him for His wisdom and help.
As He did with Julian, God graciously reveals Himself to His people, such as through the words of the Bible; through His still, small voice; through a refrain of a hymn; or even just an awareness of His presence. When this happens, we can seek His wisdom and help. This wisdom is what King Solomon instructed his son to pursue, saying he should turn his ear to wisdom and apply his heart to understanding (Proverbs 2:2). Then he would “find the knowledge of God” (v. 5).
God promises to give us discernment and understanding. As we grow in a deeper knowledge of His character and ways, we can honor and understand Him more.