Have you ever gone to the Word, opening up the ancient text… looking for comfort, peace, hope, maybe some bravery for the day…
I woke up at 6am, grabbed my cup of coffee, and headed to the table with my Bible and journal under my arm. 6:05. Okay, I have exactly 55 minutes… before the children’s alarms begin to ring and the day begins for all of us. I opened the Word. I read… I went back and read the parts my mind began to wander in…
I pray. The time is ticking and too quickly 7am approaches. I’m not done, Lord. I don’t have what I need for the day. I’m confused about this portion of Scripture. The Old Testament and the New Testament seem to contradict here. I don’t trust you enough- right now for this day… and I’m not ready…
Sometimes, we can go to the Scripture and come up dry with a big bowl of something we might call gruel. We were looking for bread, for light, for Jesus and we find we stirred up confusion, anxiety, our own doubts and fear. We can forget what we used to know… what we’ve learned before.
Some people stay away from Scripture, call it confusing, and choose to hold on to a few comforting verses… afraid to tread the waters of the ancient truth… afraid of what may be found on the pages, or maybe what is in their own hearts.
We can begin to question… maybe this raw Bible study is for the “professionals”.
I can relate. Quiet times like what I described tug at my heart to quit, to be faint, to sleep in and forget this seeking after Him. BUT the Scripture says, “In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him and without Him nothing was made that was made. In Him was life and that life was the light of men. And the light shines in the darkness, but the darkness did not comprehend it… And the Word became flesh
and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory as of the only begotten of the Father,
full of grace and truth.” John 1:1-5 and 14
Jesus is synonymous with the WORD. The Scripture from beginning to end points to Jesus. Jesus shining on Earth, said, “If you have seen me, you have seen the Father”. Basically, He is saying, “Despite how I rock your religious world here… I and the I AM are ONE. I contradict nothing in the WORD because I am the WORD, holy, righteous, infallible, merciful, savior, GOD.”
His purpose was and is:
To show us the Father
To reconcile us to the Father
The Holy Scriptures, Dear Reader, are not meant to be a polite meal… but a HOLY Rocking OF OUR BOATS. You know the kind of rocking that reveals our neediness for Him- the kind that would make us lose our manners,our pride- feel our starving hearts, jump on knees and eat with our hands- both hands cupped fully aware that we need HIM for life… and grateful that He, The One True God, would have us come.
That without the Word, we would live starved, anemic lives… that our spirits would shrink.
The Holy Scriptures aren’t meant to do OUR will for the day… We don’t go through a drive through window called Scripture and order what we want, “Yes, I’d like some comfort, a side of hope and right thinking, a large drink of love. Thank you.” The study of the Holy Scriptures is about the relationship between a Father and His daughter, The Redeemer and His redeemed, , The King of Kings and His subject,The Great High Priest and you -prayer warrior in training, The Bridegroom and His beloved bride, whom He is preparing for His return.
Confusion is NOT from God, but Perseverance despite our circumstances and emotions IS.
And Dear Reader, don’t do this. Don’t think it is easy for the ones you might put on a pedestal. I am saying this to myself, too. Are you ever tempted to think Beth Moore just opens her Bible with no struggle? Do you think Ann Voskamp is better than you? God likes her more… Truth and grace just flow from her naturally?
May I remind us? He has no favorites. He picks you. No one is left out in Jesus. He doesn’t have favorites. He has intimates.
Are you and I willing to be His intimates? He is willing for us to be.
I have given into doubt and cowardice more times than I care to admit. I have given into my thinking to survive, just breathe… just hang on…in the midst of an inexplicable battle that taunts me with, “What’s wrong with me? Everything is fine and I am losing it. I should be okay. I should be grateful.” Anxiety spinning around me. Should, should, should… religious condemnation beating me down.
Casting my eyes at Jesus, over and over and over.
Those alarms were ringing and each one shut off one by one. I knew I had a few minutes before my children began to trickle in and before I had to go get the one, who would not trickle in. So, I stood up, quieted my mind and quoted truth. “Without faith it is impossible to please God”. Then I put my faith in Him. I asked Him to speak to my heart and I bent my 5 foot 1 inch self down and whispered, “I am getting up under your hand, doubts, anxieties, confusions and all. You want me to keep seeking You. You are for me not against me”.
“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.” Jesus said this in Matthew 7:7
“Come all you who are weary and I will give you rest”. Jesus said this in Matthew 11:28
There is a way we can cast our eyes at Jesus, looking at Him, and never seeking Him; especially if we are religious. And Dear Reader, we are all religious. We are made to be worshipers and we will worship something, somewhere and we will do it religiously… even if it is our own anxieties and confusions. You know we can be just so darn used to being riled up, used to the chaos. We can have Jesus on our lips, crosses on our doors, Scriptures in our purses, scheduled Bible studies, Christian radio blaring, and all of it can add up to a sum of casted glances at Him without ever seeking Him. We can look over at Him with a heart full of anxiety and look away with a heart still full of anxiety.
To place our eyes in His direction does not equal our seeking Him.
Seeking Him is work. Seeking Him is faith in Him and refusing to put distance between us because He’s not responding the way I’d like. Seeking Him is taking that fear and doubt and laying it down at His feet and taking His strength, His armor in it’s place.
I knew a pastor, who used to describe being unsaved as swimming downstream and being saved as swimming upstream. Expect opposition was the clear message here.
Expect Work and Whatever it Takes.
Whatever it takes- like 5am cause 6 isn’t enough time for me. I know this about myself already.
Battle Mentality, Sisters.
It is a gift of Jesus to let us in on our confusions, our anxieties… our desperate condition… how needy we are for Him. It is a gift from Him not to let up on the disciplines He is building into our lives.
It is like an alarm that signals us to more, more time with Him. More time to listen, to read, to wrestle… to hear from our King. He’s talking, Dear Reader, and He is looking for listeners. And I know, the taunting. I know how it feels to want to believe you’ve made up His love for you. I know what it means to doubt, to fear, to think… have I made any progress on the inside?
May I remind you to remember where you came from? What was that miry pit He saved you from to set your feet on a rock? How has He been faithful to you over and over and over?
Dear Reader, I bless you with seeking your Father because
Your Father, who loves you is patient with you, kind to you. Your Father’s love is not rude, nor self- seeking, not easily angered, and keeps no record of wrongs. Your Father’s love does not delight in evil, but rejoices with the truth. Your Father’s love always protects you, always hopes (believes the best about you), always perseveres and never gives up on you. Your Father’s love never fails. Taken from Prayer Portions by Sylvia Gunter from 1 Corinthians 13: 4-7
In Christ Alone,
P.S. He was faithful that day to carry my burdens and minister to me. Answers came to those confusions, peace calmed the storm, and Jesus was glorified in my heart and home. AND the alarm has been going off at 4:30 because He is NOT letting up on me. I praise Him for being a good Father!
P.S.S. And may I also encourage you that just because I get up at 4:30 doesn’t mean I am sitting there for two and a half hours just studying my Bible and praying in a seated position. It also means I get ready for the day, begin chores while meditating on the Scriptures I am memorizing, singing songs of praise to Him, and praying. It is just disciplined, quiet time in preparation for the day ahead and I personally know it is best for me to rise that early.