So. It’s been a while.
I’ve legitimately been pretty busy with life things – mostly preparing for the birth of our second daughter (IN A MONTH?!) – but can we discuss for just a moment how difficult it is to write about God’s work in your life when, you know, you haven’t been reading the Bible?
Newsflash: It’s really hard!
A few weeks ago I had a conversation with a woman who grew up in the Catholic Church and left for a more progressive denomination. She talked about how she read the Bible, and was really enjoying reading the Gospel of John. But primarily “These days,” she told me, “I commune with God and nature.”
When I first considered her statement I thought how odd it sounded, given the strong truth claims about Jesus contained in John — and then I realized I was staring at the speck in this woman’s eye without considering the plank in mine. Without opening my Bible on a regular basis, I am definitely more on the “communing with God and nature” end of the spectrum these days.
Colossians 3:16 says “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.” Matthew Henry’s commentary on this is searing to me:
The gospel of the word of Christ, which has come to us; but that is not enough, it must dwell in us, or keep house… not as a servant in a family, who is under another’s control, but as master who has a right to prescribe to and direct all under his roof. We must take our instructions and directions from it, and our portion of meat and strength, of grace and comfort, in due season, as from the master of the household. It must dwell in us; that is, be always ready and at hand to us in every thing, and have its due influence and use. We must be familiarly acquainted with it and know it for our good… Many have the word of Christ dwelling in them, but it dwells in them poorly; it has no mighty force and influence upon them.
Our toddler is beginning to learn words. She actually was kind of slow to start talking and I was starting to worry about it (when I say slow, she didn’t start saying words until after 12 months, which is well within the margin of error and I freely admit I worry about everything too much, but I digress). She also had a lot of talking, flashing, singing toys that commanded a lot of her attention. One night after we’d put our daughter to bed, I expressed total annoyance at the abundance of these toys to my husband and he confiscated all of them to the basement. I kid you not, barely a week later, our daughter started saying her first words.
What changed? Well, our daughter started showing me toys that didn’t talk, as if to ask what they were. “It’s a teddy bear,” or, “that’s a block.” She started giving me books to read to her (books upon books upon books! Sometimes all we would do between breakfast and lunch was read!). She started hearing words.
All of those talking toys, you know, talked. They spoke to her with the pre-programmed phrases and songs — a reflection of the real thing. Sort of like how creation everywhere points to God (Job 12:7-10, Psalm 19:1-4, Romans 1:20). But she couldn’t know the real thing until someone taught her. I can’t know God unless I let him speak to me through scripture.
So today I’m thankful that God — despite my unfaithfulness and how poorly I’ve let his word dwell within me — is faithful to me. “Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” (Lamentations 3:22-23)
And, let’s be honest, I’m really thankful that Bible study is starting up again soon!