I am not very good at doing things in order. I wiggle my way through different routes each time to places I need to go to daily. My friend sent me a cartoon of Snoopy once with him sitting on his doghouse and the caption read “I like to think outside the box.” I am not always linear. I am dialectic. I will often come up with solutions that are not the status quo or different.
My writing is similar. I apologize to those of you who have been following my 30-30 series “The top 30 Life Lessons I have had in the last 30 years” for you have to wait months sometimes for the next post in between all the other things that rabbit trail onto my path. I am actually a highly deliberate person despite the seeming aimlessness and wandering. Aimless and wandering with a definite purpose. Is that an oxymoron? Maybe I should make a New Years resolution for you more linear people.. Ha ha. I digress.
If you would like to catch up on the 30-30 series… you can click on these links. If you are all caught up.. then below is the next life lesson….
#14 Upside down leadership
#10 Pursue People
#9 Assurance: How can I know I’ll go to heaven?
#8C Our Rights: a secondary rant from the NYTimes
#8b Our Rights: God does not owe us a pain free life
#8 Our Rights: Killing the Cultural Entitlement Chip
#6 The Myth of “Good People”
#5 The Shape of a Worldview
#2 Love people
In our world of skepticism, post enlightenment and pluralism, many of you have been brought up believing that the Bible is a myth. I was brought up quite the opposite, that it was God’s Word, true and trustworthy. I won’t pretend that I didn’t think that from a young age. What’s more was that it wasn’t something I was just told, it was something I experienced. I read and studied it for myself from childhood. Though we had family bible studies occasionally, I had read the whole thing quite independent of my parents by the time I was 13 because I wanted to. I saw how it worked together. I heard the giant narrative it was telling through 66 books and over 40 authors written over a few thousand years. The fact that it fit together through different genres, social backgrounds, and authors and made sense and told one major story: How God was making for himself a people and was in the business of rescuing the world from the sin and decay it is now in.. is amazing. It translates to any culture, any experience: the human questions in life are there and God’s answers are there.
My wrestling with it came more into my adult years.
I take on challenges like a bullfighter grabbing a bull by the horns and that was my intent as I took on one of the majors I studied in college/university. Comparative Religion. It was not a degree of Christian theology. Quite the opposite. The only Christian professor I had related to that degree was actually a history professor (and chapter four I believe in The Case for Christ. Read it. Edwin Yamauchi.. my professor and that red brick building it describes was the one I had most of my classes in.) Over the next few years I loved the challenges I dealt with in there. I believed that if Christianity was true it could stand up to scrutiny. And scrutiny I was assaulted with. Spiritually though, one semester, I was nearly slaughtered by some of the challenges.
My junior year of university I was taking a few classes that nearly did me in. My favourite professor: I could not deal with his story of coming to agnosticism after supposedly being a Christian and I began to doubt the Bible was God’s Word as I engaged with some of the theories we studied as we looked at the gospels. The long and short of it was that it was tough. I left class crying a lot. I had loads of doubts. I was too proud to tell people for months. The numpty of me tried to be independent again. Foolish. I eventually told a couple friends who began to pray for me. The answer to my doubts came in a way you would never guess.. and I can tell you in person sometime because it’s a longer story than I have right now.
Today? I know that I know that I know that the Bible is God’s Word and it’s true and he is big enough not to allow it to go off in left field. He has something he wants to say to us. It is relevant to us today. It matters to you and to me what is in there. I am satisfied with it intellectually. But more than that.. I have grown to trust Him more. The base line lie that we are all fed to believe about God’s word is that God is not trustworthy. So then we believe his Word is not true. He is more than trustworthy and he shows us that in his faithfulness in sending Jesus to come and be among us and die for us.
I don’t have the kind of doubts I had as a 21 year old. But all the time I continue to not believe God’s Word. When I ignore God’s whisper to me and love sin rather than him.. I am not believing his Word. When I don’t believe truths about him or get angry and shout at him over life that is unjust to me.. I am not trusting what God says about himself.. that he is good and sovereign and in control and just. But he is so gracious. More gracious than we know. He takes me with my unbelief. So one of my frequent prayers which you are welcome to borrow is “help my unbelief.”It is not easy to trust what is in the Bible is true some days, and it is not easy to trust that God himself is there or good other days. I am there with you. But I have seen him answer my prayer a hundred times to help my unbelief. It’s yours for the taking.
The collection of scriptures we call the Bible is considered from God by all the people who wrote it. Jesus laid it down flat that it was from God. God has so much life to breathe into you by what he has to say to you. Give it a chance. You can read it online http://www.esvbible.org/Matthew+1/ or even grab a good kids Bible to get a big picture. My personal favourite is The Jesus Storybook Bible. Though.. it’s very abridged so get a grown up full bible when you are done. 🙂 Below I have included a couple stories of British people.. not all that long ago in history who would do anything for God’s Word… such a different kind of Britain now don’t you think?
In 1536 William Tyndale was burnt at the stake in England by order of the King for heresy because he was translating the Bible into the language of the English common people so they could be able to read God’s Word for themselves.
Mary Jones was born in December 1784 into a poor Welsh family. Her father was a weaver. Mary herself became a Christian aged eight. Mary used to visit a farm two miles from her home to read a copy of the Bible there. But it became her burning desire to possess a Bible of her own. It was a vain hope. Money was scarce and Welsh Bibles were hard to come by. The nearest place to buy one was Bala, 25 miles away. And it was not even certain that a copy could be bought there. But Mary saved money for six years. And eventually she had enough money to buy a Bible. One morning in 1800, Mary set out to buy her Bible. It was 25 miles to Bala, and she was barefoot, as usual. Eventually, she came to Bala and to the home of Mr Charles – the only man with Bibles for sale in the town. But all the copies Mr Charles had were either sold or spoken for. Distraught and heartbroken, Mary wept. Her despair touched Mr Charles, who sold her one of the copies already promised to another.
Mary’s visit profoundly impacted Thomas Charles. He began to wonder what could be done for others such as Mary – for people who long for the Bible around the world… It was from there that the British and Foreign Bible society was formed.
What is the Bible An interesting explanation if it’s helpful.