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Wisdom in Surprising Situations

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He came to the sheepfolds beside the road, where there was a cave; and Saul went in to relieve himself. Now David and his men were sitting in the innermost parts of the cave.” (1 Samuel 24:3)

King Saul was jealously chasing David all over the countryside. Then, suddenly, while David was hiding in a cave, Saul comes in to turn the cave into a bathroom. (Whoever says the Bible is just a lot of platitudes, has never read it. Now, back to the dirty cave.) David and his men are just around the corner of the cave, when Saul becomes vulnerable. David’s men encouraged him to take advantage of the God-given opportunity to kill Saul. David waited. When Saul finished up and exited the cave, David followed him out and hollered to him, that he could have killed him but didn’t. David said that proved his loyalty. David used “Adaptive Thinking,” and rather than kill Saul, David provided the opportunity to make a lasting change for the better.

Nick Wignall, in his article, “Adaptive Thinking: The Mental Mechanics of High-Performers,” helps define Adaptive Thinking, when he introduces the psychologist and expertise researcher Anders Ericsson. “Adaptive Thinking involves the ability to ‘recognize unexpected situations, quickly consider various possible responses, and decide on the best one.’” David fulfilled Adaptive Thinking when he unexpectedly came face-to-…with Saul. Rather than simply kill Saul, David found a way to not only stop Saul from trying to kill him, but actually make a friend, and help set the stage for David’s eventual kingship. 

One of the definitions of maturity is the ability to assess situations and make decisions most-advantageous to ourselves, others, and hopefully to God. Sometimes it takes cunning, other times it takes creativity, and it always takes wisdom. Today, think about an example of how you used Adaptive Thinking to make beneficial change. Any parent of an adolescent should be able to come up with at least fifty, or else life is too conflictual. I am only half-kidding. God calls us to make the most of any and every situation. We will have “Saul moments” when we are caught with our pants down, and we will be caught in “David situations.” Your prayer should be that God will direct you to make the best long-term decision for all concerned. That way, we will not get caught with our pants down too often.