Maybe I'm weird, but I often think about a hypothetical scenario in which I am locked up in solitary confinement for 10 years and lose 99% of my vocabulary and comprehension. If my deteriorated, unstimulated brain could only remember one thing, what would it be? I usually come to the same conclusion of what I think my answer would be:
"His Word is life."
I feel that God has ingrained this truth into my heart and mind even more deeply this past week as I felt the absence of my husband Peter while he was in Haiti.
We both predicted that this week apart would be difficult (we've never spent more than one day away from each other), so we both wrote letters for the other person to read each day during the week, then we sealed them in dated envelopes. (And neither of us knew the other person was doing it!)
Partly because written words are my love language and partly because I just love hearing from my husband, these letters were an unspeakable treasure to me.
Communication with Peter while he was overseas was very scarce, so these pre-written letters really were the main way that he communicated with me last week. One night I stayed at my parents' house and forgot to bring the letters with me, so it was miserable to know that I had words from my husband waiting for me in an envelope to which I didn't have access.
It's not that the letters said anything new or even that they were particularly mushy; there weren't any big announcements or flowery poems. Each letter was just another way of Peter telling me he loves me. I have really needed to be reminded of that every day. One day I was having a hard time, and remembering something he said in a prior day's letter served as great comfort to me. (And he told me my letters had the same effect on him.)
I say all this because I see such a beautiful parallel between my longings and needs for Peter's letters and my longings---or at least my needs---for God's Word. Indeed, every day God has prepared for me (though not hand-written in a labeled envelope) words to remind me of His love for me. He wants me to remember them, and He wants me to be comforted by them. (And, unlike what Peter can do, God has given me the Holy Spirit to live in me to teach me all things and bring to my remembrance all that Jesus has said [John 14:26.])
I don't need any "new revelations" (When someone says things like "I knew that God communicated with me through the Bible, but I yearned for more", we should probably be concerned, since that's strikingly similar to how cults like Mormonism get started...)
Look at 2 Peter 1. Simon Peter was talking about the transfiguration---which he himself witnessed---but says in vs 19, "And we have something more sure, the prophetic word, to which you will do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts."
Discovering God's love, character, and purposes more deeply is what will fill my soul and mobilize me more than anything. And that is exactly what God provides in the gift of His Word.
From this truth that God's Word is life, I would like to remind you, dear reader, that God's Word is sweet and God's Word is necessary.
God's Word is Sweet
Any Christian who does not loooooove God's Word simply hasn't been reading it. As illustrated by the letters from my husband, if you are in a healthy relationship with someone it would be quite unnatural for you to not loooooove the words of your beloved, especially when those words are concerning his or her love for you.
You've probably heard a quote along the lines of "Every page is dripping with the blood of Jesus."
This is not just a statement to counter man-centered teaching.
It should be great comfort to your soul that God made a plan for salvation even before anyone needed to be saved...even before anyone existed. Ephesians 1 tells us "He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world." He spent 39 books telling us about that plan, one way or another, before the Hero was even born.
Reading about that every day is what is going to tell me about His love. What a gift!
Studying God's Word takes more digging than page-flipping and misinterpreting mushy words does, but it's so worth the treasure of knowing God.
Studying all of God's Word enables me to point to more than John 3:16 when my heart starts to wonder if God really loves me.
God's Word is Necessary
I love how Deuteronomy 32:47 describes the words of God: "For it is no empty word for you, but your very life."
Psalm 119:50 (NASB) says "This is my comfort in my affliction, that Your Word has revived me."
Time and time again, even in my short 21 years of life and even shorter years of being a Christian, I have seen this to be true.
Jesus prays in John 17:17, "Sanctify them in the truth; Your Word is truth."
The Bible is not just true; it is the truth to which all other true things must conform.
Psalm 119:160 says "The sum of Your Word is truth." If you take a head count of everything in scripture, the number you come up with will be "truth."
This is extremely comforting to me because I go crazy, like, all the time.
I need a solid rock to hold onto when my mind is swimming.
Just to let you know, friends, when I go through hard times, it will do nothing for my heart to hear things like "You are strong! You can do this!" or "It'll all be okay soon" because I simply can't trust myself to be strong, and sometimes deep suffering doesn't end "soon."
I don't need you to come over and bring me a movie to watch so I'm distracted from the matter at hand. The biggest help to me will not be to "talk it out."
I need to be immersed in reality; I need my loved ones to cover me in Scripture. I don't want the pain to be numbed; it's worth it to feel the pain so I can feel the healing, so I can grow in perseverance and have deeply rooted hope (see Romans 5.)
I've noticed that many atheists/agnostics I know who claim to have the firmest and most enlightened grasp on truth spend most of their days in fiction-world, consuming entertainment media with reckless, zombielike abandon.
I have no reason to even entertain the validity of someone's worldview if that person spends so little time in reality.
And why do I believe the Bible? I love how Voddie Baucham says it:
"I choose to believe the Bible because it is a reliable collection of historical documents, written by eyewitnesses during the lifetime of other eyewitnesses. They report supernatural events that took place in fulfillment of specific prophecies, and they claim to be divine rather than human in origin."
I really believe that whether you believe 100% of the Bible or not is the most important decision you can make. So if you're on the fence, I beg that you figure out what you believe about it and---objectively---why you believe it.
So please, dear Christian, enjoy the feast that God has already prepared for you in His Word.
Yep, steak is harder to chew than mashed potatoes. But keep on chewing, for the delight and stability of your soul.
Here is another post from my series about the Bible:
The Real Reason We Don't Read Our Bibles
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My name is Hope.
I'm 25, married to a rad guy, and raising three little people ages 1,3, and 5...and I'm now expecting my fourth. I like chartreuse, calligraphy, Coke Icees, childbirth, crocs, Studio C, and...alliteration.
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Articles I've Written on Other Sites:
Youth Ministry's Family Blindspot - Christianity Today