The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our God endures forever.
- Isaiah 40:8
I love all the words.
I always have. I love stories and poetry, prose and letters. As a child, I practically lived at the library. Hey, it was the 80s. I just had to be home for dinner. So, I spent hours drifting through the stacks, pulling off one book and then another, flipping through the pages, reading about subjects entirely foreign to me. It was a whole world to me, my first love. In college, I discovered I could actually fill my course schedule with glorified book clubs (known as English classes). It turns out I could geek out about themes and symbolism with other word nerds as an actual major. How could I do anything else?
It was during this time that my great-grandma gave me a Bible. Why had I never read the world’s all-time best seller? So, I started reading it, and I simply couldn’t put it down. It was like no book I had ever read. Sure, it had stories like other stories, poetry like other poetry, laws, history and the like. But, there was this grand theme woven into each page. Every glimpse added to the fuller picture of a good God rescuing a rebellious people because he loved them. This was not at all what I'd expected. And, when I got to the Jesus part, I was fascinated. He was the culmination and the destination of everything. He was the faithful Lover, the sacrificial Servant, the true King. All of the stories were just shadows and signs pointing to him. It was incredible. It was too good to be true. Yet, I had this growing flicker of hope way down in my soul that wanted to believe that it was.
But, then there was me; I was a total mess. My life was in no way the picture of godliness or goodness. But, this Jesus, the one I read about, he didn’t seem to mind the misfits or the sinners. He actually liked them and hung out with them. And, at the climax of everything, he died an intentional death to save his screwball friends. His story was a story for people like me, who had screwed it all up. And, suddenly, somehow, I felt like I was invited into the story. The story wasn’t just about a great God who loved and saved a people at one time in history. It was a story about a great God who loved me and wanted to save me. In some mysterious way, I understood that he was asking ME to step into the story and believe it for myself. This Jesus had died for me, in the right-now, real world. So, I believed. And when I did, I became part of the story. All of the small stories were shadows of my own. I was the prostitute made clean, the rotten son returned to be forgiven. I was the lost coin, found. I was the orphan made heir.
It is too real, people.
Now, I read the words of the Bible most every day. I remind myself of the grand narrative of the Great God who loves me, saved me, and calls me to himself. I align my heart to his heart, my will to his will, and my actions to his own. I fail all the time, but he is always there to set me on the path, show me his ways, and lead me in truth. And, every step of the way, it is his unfailing Word that guides me. It is my whole world, my sanctuary, my classroom, my home.
How do you see the Bible?
Is it your "whole world, your sanctuary, your classroom, your home?