Scripture: Romans 15.14
I myself am convinced, my brothers and sisters, that you yourselves are full of goodness, filled with knowledge and competent to instruct one another.
Reflection: Struggling with the Word
By John Tillman
Jeannette Clift George, in her book, Troubling Deaf Heaven, relates her early struggles with God’s word.
Someone told me to read the Bible until I understood something from the reading. After an hour of intense reading I threw my copy of the Bible across the room and cried aloud to God, “Yes, I have learned something! I have learned that I don’t understand your Book! Now can I stop reading it?” And then, still muttering over the details of my problem, I went over and picked up my Bible, with it’s tossed pages all askew, and read again. My early Bibles show the wear and tear of my struggle.
Truly enough Kierkegaard asserts that the Bible is easy to understand and we merely feign misunderstanding to shirk its demands on us. However, many of us, especially in the early steps of discipleship and study, do struggle with it.
This is in part because we often approach the Bible as consumers, treating it as a store full of solutions to our problems. When we do this, we easily are overwhelmed by its shelves, confused by its organization, and frustrated by seemingly inexplicable products. But the Word of God is not a catalog of helpful quotes, and our approach to it must be more than scholarly or no amount of gleaned facts will feed our faith.
We can only hope to gain meaning from God’s Word by listening for his voice—personally calling to us. George continues:
Then, one day, one reading, all of a sudden I saw me in the Scripture. My need—my question for the day, my tears for the evening, my fears for the morning, me—in God’s Holy Word. That made all the difference in the world.
That’s why I keep praying even when God’s silence infers the communication is out of order. I found me in his Word because he put me there. God put me in his Word that I might hear him in the silence, that I might hear him in the midst of arguments with him, that I might know that he knows me and loves me because he said so.
In our rhythms of prayer and reading, we do not pursue mastery of content as much as we pursue a relationship with the Master of the content—a relationship with the Holy Spirit that goes beyond bringing the text to life and joins us in walking through our life.
The Request for Presence
I long for your salvation, O Lord, and your law is my delight. — Psalm 119.174
– From The Divine Hours: Prayers for Springtime by Phyllis Tickle.
Full prayer available online and in print.
Job 11 (Listen – 2:01)
Romans 15 (Listen – 4:32)