We are lucky enough to be taking this great class at our church called “Foundations of Christian Spirituality: Asking the Questions that Matter.” Part of what makes the class so great is that it is designed as a class for new comers to the church and the backgrounds of the people in the class are very diverse: Pentecostal, Catholic, Baptist, Jewish (to name a few).
Past evenings the topics of discussion have been “Responding to God’s Grace,” “Images of Jesus from Scripture and History,” and “Why Should I Follow Jesus?” Last Thursday night the topic of discussion was “Discovering God in scripture.” For me, this was the best class so far because I truly love the Bible and the beauty of scripture and the awesomeness of reading and absorbing the same words and wisdom that have been read for thousands of years.
This past summer I started on a personal quest to read the bible in its entirety (I’m only about 25% there). I was inspired by my cousin/amazing friend Sarah who has already read the whole bible and who is rereading with me. I have also read, at the same time, several books by Beth Moore (who is fantastic!!!) to help explore and understand different books of the bible. One of my favorites by Beth Moore is a book called “Believing God.” The book focuses on the Old Testament books of Genesis and Exodus and God’s process of leading the Israelites out of bondage and into the Promised Land. I love how God describes the Promised Land to Moses as a “land of milk and honey.” I think that my promised land is one of Starbucks and dark chocolate, but I digress. Beth Moore in “Believing God,” asks that we draw a parallel between the Israelites seeking the Promised Land thousands of years ago and our own quest today as children of God who are called by Him to reach and experience our own promised land of abundant life here in our own time, in our own imperfect world. Just how does one reach their own promise land?
By believing God.
Notice that I didn’t say believing in God, but believing Him. Believing that the promises in His word are True. Real. Meaningful. Alive. As real and true for us today as they were thousands of years ago to God’s chosen people wandering in the desert.
If we truly BELIEVE God, not just believe IN Him, but BELIEVE HIM, that He loves us, has a plan for us and our future, will never forsake us, that He will handle all of our fears, worries, concerns if we lay them at His feet, we may live our lives in that precious promised land where the world may rage around us daily, hourly, but the core of who we are, the place where our soul dwells, is unaffected-cradled in the cushion of God’s love and faithfulness.
Scripture tells us that God is unchanging. He is the same today as he was yesterday, as he was thousands of years ago as the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Think about the things that once consumed you with worry-last year, five years ago, last week-and then how He saw you through. We can look to the future with confidence in believing that the same God who saw us through the past will see us through the future. Because He says that He will. The same God who delivered Moses, who parted the Red Sea, is the same God who is with us today, who wants to take all of our worries, our doubts, our insecurities about the future and envelope us in His perfect Grace.
The struggle, of course, is that believing God is much more difficult than merely believing in Him. On Thursday night, our class focused on the passage of Mark 9:14-29, where a man brings his ill son to Jesus and begs Jesus to heal his boy- “if you can,” he says to Jesus. Jesus responds, ‘If you can’?” “Everything is possible for him who believes.” (Mark 9:23). Wow. That is powerful stuff-EVERYTHING is possible for him who believes! The next part of the story is my favorite, what a brave and honest man this father was!
Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!” (Mark 9:24)
And so like all believers, like this father 2,000 years ago, I endeavor to bridge the gap between believing in God and whole-heartedly believing Him. Which is why I am continuing my journey through the Bible, because as I have come to realize in my adult life, I cannot believe what I do not know, and cannot know what I have not read! Blessings tonight to everyone, including all of my fellow believers who are struggling to believe just a little bit more . . .
Please feel free to leave a comment with what your promised land would contain, in lieu of milk and honey! 🙂