Although I am committed to reading my Bible every day and I love the Word of God and the understanding it brings me, I have a difficult time actually opening it most every day. Shocked? Yeah, I am too.
You'd think that after all these years of finding the answers to life's questions in the Bible that I would make haste to open it every morning. You'd think that after all the comfort it's given me, all the wisdom I have found there, all the love I've seen written in its stories, that I would spend hours and hours in it each day. And you'd think that after all the times I've literally met God there deep within its pages, that you wouldn't be able to get me to put it down.
But for some reason it's as though there is some magnetic force that pulls me toward everything else and away from my Bible most mornings. I'm prone to flip on the TV, turn on my IPod, pick up a magazine, hop on the Internet, or even glance through the grocery store circulars before I pick up my Bible each morning. (I'm trusting you with a gut-level, honest confession. Please don't hate me for it!) Whether it's human nature, my flesh, defiance or just plain stubbornness, I don't just naturally gravitate toward my Bible first thing in the morning. (Actually, maybe all of those are the same thing.)
And yet, I read it every day. I choose to pick it up along with my 40-something reading glasses and I open it to my daily bread. And I begin reading. And when I do, God meets me there without fail. I may have approached Him and His Word reluctantly, hesitantly, and out of obligation. But He meets me with a divine mixture of grace and enthusiasm and power and love. And within minutes that magnetic force that had previously pulled me to anything and everything else dissipates like melted krypton and I am delightfully free to enjoy my visit with my God.
I say all that to say that this morning I turned on the TV first. I fixed my cup of coffee and plopped down on the sofa to catch up on the disastrous earthquake and tsunami in Japan. I learned that thousands are expected to be dead. I found out that their nuclear plant had experienced a second explosion, scattering radiation in the atmosphere. And I saw the devastation that has left a haunted and saddened expression on millions of faces in that ripped and shredded country. I wondered about our American missionaries in Japan--are they safe, do they have what they need to minister to these hurting people, can they possibly get through to the hurt and wounded? And will the people be willing to listen to stories of our God--the one who they may blame for the earthquake? And that made me wonder, "God, what's going on here? Why one natural disaster after another? Are You still on Your throne? What's up?"
With questions still swirling around in my distracted brain, I finally turned off the television and opened my Bible that had been sitting beside me on the sofa. And this is what I read in today's reading:
And Jesus, answering them, began to say:...
"But when you hear of wars and rumors of wars,
do not be troubled; for such things must happen,
but the end is not yet.
For nation will rise against nation,
and kingdom against kingdom.
And there will be earthquakes in various places,
and there will be famines and troubles.
These are the beginnings of sorrows..."
Mark 13:5-8 (selected portions)
Good Morning America may have been reporting live from Japan this morning, but God was speaking to me straight from the throne room. He reminded me, once I finally picked up His Word, that He is still in control and I do not need to fear. Yes, I need to pray, I need to give, I need to share the gospel. But I do not need to "be troubled; for such things must happen."
And then I read in Psalms 33:18-19:
Behold, the eye of the Lord
is on those who fear Him,
On those who hope in His mercy,
To deliver their soul from death,
And to keep them alive in famine.
It was as though He was reassuring me that His eye is on His people in Japan. He knows those who call upon His name and hope in His mercy. And He will deliver them. He may not deliver them from the disastrous effects of the earthquake or the tsunami, but He will deliver their souls from eternal death. In the rubble and the mayhem, He will not lose a single person that belongs to Him. Whatever the appearance of things may indicate, we can be assured that He is still a merciful, loving and good God.
Once I opened God's Word, I found that He had something to say on the matter at hand. He always does.
Do you experience the same magnetic pull that I do? The one that pulls me toward anything and everything to keep me out of the Word of God? Are you, like me, more prone to turn on the news, the radio or the computer to hear a word about our world? Why are we like that? I don't know. But I do know that when I finally open my Bible each day, He has something to say. And what He has to say is so much more authoritative than anything George Stephanapolous or Glenn Beck or Oprah has to say. He is not taken by surprise with the events of the world. And, not only that, but, He has words of life for every situation we face.
Don't let that weird magnetic pull, whatever its source may be, keep you from opening God's Word today. Make a conscious decision to resist that kryptonite-like pull and sit down with your Bible today. He has something to say to you.
Labels: Perspective, Walk Through the Bible