As I was reading through the Book of Psalms this evening, I realized that I’ve been reading the Bible on a nightly basis for over ten years. Yet, I can remember a time when I thought ‘no one can read this book, burying him or herself day after day, without getting overwhelmed.’ How naïve I was. The Bible can be read again and again, as it has been, for over five thousand years, and it never gets old. I’ve only been reading for around ten years, now, and I’ve never become tired of it. I wish that I had tried this earlier.
I began this journey with a smaller view. Why try to read the entire Bible in a year, or two years. What happens if you get behind? Haven’t you failed? And how do you catch up so that you’re now where you should have been? I wondered all these things, and made myself anxious over nothing. God doesn’t care how you read the Bible. He just cares that you read it. You see, the Bible is a love story. It’s God’s love story to each of us. So, when I read the words, “Come, my beloved…,” I know that God is saying that to me.
So, ten or eleven years ago, I decided that I wanted to hear God call me “beloved” every night, before I sleep. Since then, it has been a rare night that I have not read His word. In recent years, of course, holding a large Bible, even a smaller Bible, has become painful. As a result, I switched to a PDA (a small pocket type of computer) which has been a blessing for me.
The Book of Psalms has a particular hold on me. Where else can one listen to the cry of the human heart in its many voices? Why me, God? Where are you? Are you listening? Are you even there? When, Lord, when? How long? Help me, Lord! Come to me! Vindicate me, oh Lord! And so many more cries. I can hear them all. And so does God.
There is not a human prayer that has not been heard, nor one that has not been answered. The answer is not always the one we seek. Who wants to be told, “Not yet” or “Not now” or “Wait…have patience…I hear you…give it time.” Everyone wants an answer, now, including me. I’ve got to be the most impatient child of God in the world. Oh, you thought you had that all sewed up, yourself? I think that’s why I get to wait. I’m impatient. God’s not finished with me, yet. And I’m not finished with Him.
The Bible is God’s love letter to us, and our prayers are our love letter to Him. I know that there are those who laugh at this, but I wonder, when the lights are out, and no one is in the room, how alone are you? When I’m alone, in the middle of the night, and I feel as though no one is there, I know, someone is there. That certainty, and more, is why I pray.
Father, there are times that we feel so alone. We cannot see You, and we are making so much noise, that we cannot hear you. In spite of ourselves, let us know that you are with us, and when we cannot even imagine ourselves being loved so much, help us to believe, without knowing.
Monday, February 25, 2008