I’m going to be 100% real with you guys, and this is a fact I am not proud of. But it is the truth.
Are you ready?
I have never read the Bible cover to cover, starting from page 1 to the end of times. I am about halfway through doing so, and it has taken me years to get through the first half reading page by page.
*GASP* “You haven’t read the whole Bible yet?” “*scoff* Only halfway??” “What kind of Christian are you?!” haters may ask.
Welp, I’m a human one, haters. A flawed, human one. One that gets lazy and tired on my best days, and one that lets sin and lies get to my head to keep me away from seeking truth on my worst days. But I am staying the course. My path may stray from reading the Word – maybe even as much as I should – but I am trying harder and harder to learn more about Jesus and to love Him more. To trust Him more. I know God does not expect perfection out of me, and I know I can never deliver that, so each day I do pick up my Bible, I celebrate a little victory of defeating my laziness or whatever else is stopping me from cracking open this beautiful work of wisdom sitting in my lap.
Whew. Glad I got that off of my chest.
So now that my truth is laid bare, I want to dive into a little bit of what I read tonight and then get even more real.
Actually, before we do, real quick, I just want to share the encouragement that was shared with me. It has helped me to not feel so overwhelmed by my goal of reading the Bible in one year and made it seem much more… do-able. Francis Chan said that if you spend roughly ten minutes per day reading the Word, you can read the entire book, cover to cover, each year.
Alright. There you go. TO SCRIPTURE!
A song of ascents. Of Solomon.
1 Unless the Lord builds the house,
the builders labor in vain.
Unless the Lord watches over the city,
the guards stand watch in vain.
2 In vain you rise early
and stay up late,
toiling for food to eat—
for he grants sleep to[a] those he loves.
After reading this, two basic questions arose as I thought over these verses.
- What do you feel when you read this: Do these verses give you peace? Or do you they make you feel uneasy?
Your answer, whether you chose peace or uneasiness, I think, may just be an answer to the tougher, deeper question – Question number two: Do you trust God?
For me, these passages are basically telling me that God is in control. I can toil away, I can lose sleep, I can take a million measures to protect my home and my family, but at the end of the day, the Lord chooses whether we are safe, whether we are financially prosperous or in financial hardship, whether we are sick or whether we will be healed, and so on and so forth.
So to be honest, my answer to these questions would be:
- Both peaceful and uneasy. Peace when I think about the love of God and His love for me and my family. Uneasy when I think about how His will can be painful (look at Job, look at Steven, look at Peter, look at Paul, look at Jesus, look at John the Baptist, pretty much most people of significance in the Bible).
- So, I do and I don’t. I go back and forth. I try to, but there are moments where I am so afraid of the suffering that comes with this walk.
Do I believe that God is good?
But does that mean that we won’t suffer? Maybe even immensely?
And that is what scares me.
I know that if we face a trial or hardship, it is for the glory of God. For a specific purpose that will have a kingdom impact.
I know that He is with those who suffer.
Yet I still struggle with trust.
I believe it all comes down to our perspective: is it earthly or is it eternal?
That is a war constantly waged in my mind, friends. My flesh is constantly seeking comfort and happiness, a long and full life… but my soul knows that trials are always ahead and that I need to love and trust the Lord anyway. No matter what.
Which then makes me question whether or not my faith would be strong enough to withstand the heaviest of blows… the death of a child? My spouse? My parents? To be faced by the persecution our Brothers and Sisters across seas face over their faith daily – being martyred and tortured for the name of Jesus? That’s a whole new level. That’s Bible status faith. Their faith is real. As real as it gets.
These are tough questions to reflect on. They are heavy. They are burdensome the second they come to my mind.
But one thing I know is that the decision to be Christian here in America is a light one compared to the rest of the world, which is why we have a epidemic of lukewarm Christians in our country. People don’t take it lightly overseas because it could cost them their lives. Over here it is becoming more and more about what the Lord can do for us rather than being willing to do anything for Him because of what He already did for us.
And I fall prey to that me mentality too often. But I want my faith to be more than that. I want my perspective to switch to more eternal rather than earthly.
Should I feel this fear? If I read about Paul in prison, before he faces death, he tells Timothy not to fear for him because he is about to go to heaven to be with Jesus.
So my head knowledge tells me that this fear is not of the Lord. It is either my flesh or the enemy. But right now, in this season, I struggle with it, and as we established earlier, I am a flawed, human Christian.
I hope this honest writing has sparked some new questions in you, ones that can help you dive deeper into your relationship with the Lord. And I pray for all of us that we do not allow ourselves to become lukewarm, but are seeking to deepen and mature our faith in Jesus.