I've often seen the Bible as rote, feeling like the words on the page should be deeply meaningful to me but they just aren't. As I've walked through times of suffering, or constantly struggled against the chains of voluntary slavery that I couldn't seem to walk away from, the language of the Bible seemed distant and irrelevant.
Lately, though, something is changing. The God who wrote the Bible is causing it to become inspired and alive in me. When I read about the certainty of who I am in Christ in Ephesians 1,while praying for a sister in need of believing God's truth about his love for her, it grips me in my gut and I feel it and I know it's truth. When I read Psalm 77, and Asaph (the author) talks about being so troubled that he cannot speak, and honestly questions if God is at all who he says he is (loving, faithful, merciful, kind) I identify with him. I'm right there with him, and he gets me.
I have been in painful and dark places when everything in life suggested to me that God was not who he says he is, and I have gone to God (sometimes... other times I ran and hid and, praise God, he chased me down with his goodness and mercy until I turned around to face him and stop running) to tell him exactly how I was feeling. I have been there, and it amazes me that this is in the Bible. It feels so opposite of "good little Christian", the Christianity I was taught was the only way from conversion at 16 until age 26 when I began going to Mars Hill. [Stay tuned for what real Christianity is, as I walk through these next two weeks (and the rest of my life).]
I love how, in Psalm 77, the author is so dreadfully honest about what he's feeling toward God- frustrated, hopeless, abandoned, despairing- but then he chooses to cling to truth. He appeals to God by remembering all that God has done, his faithfulness throughout generations. He ponders and meditates on the ways God has proven his steadfast love time and time again; he doesn't just repeat, "I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength", in his head like some sort of C-3PO with a short circuit in his electronic, unfeeling, emotionally incapable central processing unit.
|Man-fashioned positioning of metal: the extent of C-3PO's capacity to emote and be human.|
I am not a robot. I think in colors. I feel. I get angry when I see people, image bearers of Christ, sinned against. I get angry (it looks like frustration; still just suppressed anger) when things don't go the way I thought they were supposed to. I hear and choose to believe lies about who I am, my worth in living, and I despair and refuse to believe God's truth, that he loves me so much that his own son was willingly murdered in my place so that I can be free and bear his righteousness. I feel inexpressible joy when I meditate on God's faithfulness, remember how I used to be and see how I am now, and realize that the gospel is alive in me and that God is exactly who he claims to be in the Bible.
Just like Asaph, a man who lived many milennia before I was in existence, every circumstance is an opportunity to be boldly honest with God about what is real, what I actually feel, to meditate on his character as expressed through his faithful deeds in my life, in the Bible, in the lives of people around me, to repent and be boldly honest about my sin and how desperately I need him, and to learn to live a life characterized by repentance. That's all in the Bible- real life, gripping, word-took-on-flesh truth that is riveted to my soul and is changing the way I live. A genuine love of the scripture is in my composter- it's clunky and parts of my desire for God's word are still tainted and rotten because of my sin, but it's slowly breaking down and making fertile soil for growth in Christ.
I've been thinking a lot this week about legacy- I want to be a woman, who, when people think or speak of me, say, "That Tami- she loves God's word and I've never known anyone so passionate to love and live God's word, who prays so fervantly, as her; when I walk away from interacting with her all I can think of is how incredibly full of grace Jesus is". I want Jesus' name to be made great, and I've been praying for my children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and my great-grandchildren's children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. I pray for every child, every spouse, every child they have, to love Jesus and live out lives of humble repentance, walking in redemption and finishing their lives well. I believe that loving God's word and prayer, lived out in community, as my sole source of life will be an integral part of God honoring these prayers.
This is a long post, so let me wrap up on this thought: for the next two weeks (or more, but specifically for two weeks) I am going to meditate on Psalm 139. I am going to study it, study parallel passages, work on memorizing parts (if not all) of it, chew on it, read it over and over and journal through it. I am going to share what I learn as I go on this blog. Please feel free to join me, or choose your own passage of scripture. The goal is not so I can add some Jesus-mantras to my efforts of living a live of ease; rather, my desire is for Psalm 139- such a beautiful expression of who I am, my worth in God's eyes as his beloved daughter- to come to life in my heart. It's so oft overquoted and abused, and to be blunt, it's been lifeless words on a page, thrown around by people who don't feel them, for my entire life. I believe Christ's calling me deeper, to adore and cherish this part of scripture because of what it says about who he is and the comfort that is mine by being found in him.
So, two weeks start today! This was my "the Bible is becoming alive to me" introductory post; thoughts on Psalm 139 start tomorrow. It will be shorter, I promise :)