When I Gave Up

Like most of us, I’ve had seasons of daily Bible reading. I’ve started strong in January and fizzled by March. I’ve had weeks on end of sleeping in or forgetting altogether, and I’ve also had weeks on end of waking up at 5:30am in the sunshine of an Australian spring. I’ve had varied success with chronological plans, devotional plans, church-wide plans, “do it my own way” non-plans, journalling plans and the old standby of flip-and-point.

The best times have usually been accompanied by a latte and a wide stretch of time in front of me, releasing tension and soaking up life. There have also been hard times, the ones we all know as “dry” or “desert” seasons, when we read the same paragraph over and over, unable to focus, willing the words to leap off the page while feeling lost and in desperate need of something we can’t put our finger on.

Last year, I gave up trying to read the Bible every day. 

It’s proof of Grace that it was the same year the Bible chased me down.

Solo lattes are scarce these days.

Solo lattes are scarce these days.

Something incredible happens when we open up the possibility that we might be wrong about some things, or might be only seeing one side of the story. Something incredible happens when we are no longer convinced that we’re right (because that’s when we are almost certainly wrong). Something incredible happens when we stop reading by default (or by “discipline”) and start asking questions without fear of the answers.

Something incredible happens when we realize that the Bible is not a tool for Christian growth but a living, moving expression of God himself that isn’t limited to a schedule or our best intentions!

There is an ever-growing category in my brain labeled “Not sure what I think about that.” I have fewer answers and a lot more questions, and something incredible IS happening: I’m asking, and the Bible is answering. My questions have opened up research, articles, history, and different perspectives on the stories I thought I knew inside out. They’ve led me to all sorts of theological complexities, but I’m not afraid of them anymore, because they’re sending me straight back to the Bible (usually in e-format with multiple translations and endless cross-referencing) to find out for myself. 

I used to think that “seek and you shall find” meant that God rewards those who try really hard to find “more of him,” even if it means struggling through weary deserts. 

Here’s the thing: when I was little, my parents took us to Disney. I’ll never forget Dad telling us, “If you get lost, don’t try to find me! Stay where you are, and I’ll come find you.” 

So, this is how to find God? He comes when we ask questions, rather than trying to make the Bible work for us or thinking we already have the answers. He comes when we seek help because our best spiritual efforts have led to dead ends. He comes when we knock at truth’s door, unafraid of what we might find inside.

If I’m right about everything I believe, my best days are already behind me. But if I’m wrong about some things and have many incredible truths yet to discover…! 

… well, then, the best days are most certainly ahead.