Day 22 of
I've said before that Hope, unfortunately, is usually not my first course of action. It's not the 'go-to immediately, without passing go and without collecting 200 dollars' action. Yes, the main reason is because I'm a sinner and my flesh battles my spirit constantly to convince it that there's a better plan.
However another reason is because Hope is hard to grasp.
Hope is a beautiful and amazing gift, but it very often feels as if it's out there somewhere, instead of down here tangible and ready. It's hard to cling to intangibles. I feel like I've heard that excuse many a time from people for why they don't know or don't want to know God. Honestly I feel like I've heard that excuse from many believers for why they don't know Him better as well. I'm confident I've heard that excuse from myself. It's the very reason Moses came down from a mountain holding the very words of God, and saw God's people worshiping a golden calf they erected themselves. We want tangible.
Oh what a lie we have believed when we think the Hope of God is not here among us, ready to be grasped. Ready to be looked at and looked over. Ready to be communed with. The next few days I will be sharing about four of the things that brought Hope to me in a 'right there in my presence' way that our human hearts long for.
The first one is most likely lying very near to you now.
Reading the bible is one of those things you know you need to do. Not because it's what good Christians put on their list and check off when finished, but because when it's not something you make time for, you can see the negative effects in your life. Even so, it is most likely the first thing many of us take off of our to-do list when there doesn't seem to be enough time to get your day's tasks done.
A few years ago I struggled with the desire to read my bible. I always felt very insecure when opening that book. There was just so much there...how was I supposed to know where to start? When I did read, and came across things I didn't understand, I would get super insecure about my Christianity. Why didn't I understand what they were saying or what is this supposed to mean? I assumed because I was a believer who grew up in church that this was all just supposed to come naturally. Conversations with other people and friends in small groups and bible studies helped a little bit, when they shared of their own struggles with quiet times and such, but only to the point of confirming that at least I'm not alone!
Two things were a turning point for me in the desire to read scripture. The first was some advice from my cousin. He suggested starting slowly. Just take 15 minutes and read. Then the next day take 15 minutes and read. Don't start out trying to glean some huge light bulb thought or understanding, just read. So I read. The next day I read. Then the next and the next until after a short time I didn't just have to read, or wanted to read, but I needed to read. My heart could feel the lack of spiritual nourishment when I didn't.
The second was getting rid of the idea that my quiet time with God had to be a perfectly executed personal party. Sure, it would be nice to sit quietly in the morning or afternoon with my tea in my favorite cup, the sun shining between the trees, and my bible laid out before me. But who am I kidding. When I finally stopped placing God in a perfect picture, and started placing His perfectness in my imperfect picture, it was a game changer. Now my morning is spent getting up a little earlier to pack lunches, sign agendas, and make breakfast before our boys are out of bed, and my time with God is spent next to them eating breakfast with either Curious George, Wild Kratts or Jake and the Neverland Pirates as background noise as I read, and it's a sweet sweet time with my Father. That's not to say that the struggle to make time never comes back, or that some mornings there is more attending to the responsibilities around me instead of the words in front of me, but I know now what it's like to be in His Word and I know what it was like when I wasn't.
Thankfully these two things happened before the bomb went off, but even if it didn't for you it's not too late. It's never too late. Because the more experiences you have in this life, the more you can understand the truths that His Word brings. Reading my bible became a habit years ago, but scripture came alive for me in a way it never had before a little more than a year ago. I read words so familiar that they were almost from memory but felt them in ways that were new and fresh. I read words that brought tears to my eyes, and were balm to my soul. I read words that angered me with their truth, and quieted me with their comfort. I began to see the meaning of all that had been there before me all along, in a way that now filled the very needs of my heart. I will never wish for someone to have to walk through what we have over the past year, but I will always wish that everyone will feel from God's word what we have begun to feel during this time.
God covers everything in His Word. The answers to your questions are in Him and the Word He gives. Seek it out. Start slowly if you need to, but start. His word is a lamp unto your feel and a light unto your path. Let it light up your life and let it lead you to cling to Hope.