The past couple weeks or so I just haven’t been feeling it when it comes to reading the Bible.
Each time I read the Bible, I find that different aspects of it stick out to me. Sometimes it’s the story of David and his relentless pursuit of God that speaks to me. Other times, it’s the black and white guidelines in Romans that push me to draw near to Jesus.
And then there’s the major prophets (Isaiah, Jeremiah and Ezekiel); they are almost always a toss up for me. Sometimes I enjoy hearing their stories….other times it is all I can do to get through my devo’s for the day.
The past few weeks I’ve been going through the major prophets. And let me just tell you: I have not been feeling it. Not just for a few days, but for many days. Trying to read these books of the Bible has felt like a monotonous chore, and I have struggled to find deeper meaning and inspiration in Jeremiah’s sacred words.
The distractions have come on strong. I’ve tried to resist. To keep reading and engage. Instead, I’ve ended up doing “textbook reading” where I read the words and comprehend none of it. I have a set number of chapters that I read each day, but I have longed to quit halfway through and pretend I “didn’t have the time” to fully delve into the amount of Scripture I had set.
I wish I could tell you that somewhere along the way I had an “aha!” moment with God. That a certain verse leapt of the page and struck a cord in my heart, making all the monotony worth it. But it didn’t happen that way.
God speaks in the “aha!” moments. But He also speaks just as clearly in the silence.
This morning as I grappled with God and His Word, a thought struck me right through the uncomfortable monotony.
This hasn’t been the first time in my life that the silence felt deafening.
And what I’ve found with silence is that it is either one of two things. One, it is God’s way of intervening and helping us grow. Silence gets our attention. Or two, it is Satan’s way of disheartening us and making us feel abandoned by God. Empty and weary. (Or it can be a combination of both!)
You see, I realized I wasn’t struggling to read the major prophets just because of the content or how it was written. I was struggling because of how much I wanted to see something that related to the struggle I feel in my heart right now. But that’s the thing about seasons of struggle: Satan tries to make us feel isolated and alone in our emptiness. He uses everything (even our devotional time!) to make us question the goodness of our Creator.
Yet, this realization didn’t clear up what I was feeling in my heart. I still sat there waiting. Anticipating God to move. Wishing He would speak. Finding myself waiting…..and waiting…..and waiting some more.
So, I did the only thing I knew to do. Ironically, I turned once again to Scripture.
Outlined on the margins of my journaling Bible are verses, meditations, prayers and questions I write during my devotional time about God’s character and what He is teaching me. It was here that I found reminders my heart desperately needs.
Mark 10:18 says, “Jesus said to him, ‘Why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone.’” My prayer, which I scrawled at some point in the margin says: “Can I leave all to follow Jesus – who Scripture tells me is good? Even if it doesn’t make sense to me?”
Then, over in Romans 8:28, I read, “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to His purpose.” Here I meditated on my writing next to the verse, “The Spirit Himself is working for me, giving me life and purpose. How comforting”
Finally, I thumbed back over to Psalm 119:68, where the Word says, “You are good and do good; teach me your statutes.” BAM. Just like that. Something shifted in my heart. God hadn’t magically begun encouraging me or speaking audibly, but I began to more clearly see His goodness and truth amidst my discouraged waiting.
God used three verses and meditations to point me to His goodness and remind me to trust Him. Scripture reminds me of this repeatedly. My own handwritten notes reveal this to me.
He is good when I can visibly see Him at work. But He is also just as good in seasons of waiting and growth.
I have choice when it comes to waiting. I can feel hopeless and debilitated by it, or I can wait with full expectancy that God is at work in my life.
My prayer is that I will respond just as Scripture tells me to. Lamentations 3:25 “The LORD is good to those who wait for him, to the soul who seeks him.”
And today, next to that verse in the margin, I write: “I will wait, God, I will wait for You.”