Over the past few months, I have intentionally encouraged the congregation to become more grounded in the Scriptures. One of the ways we are doing this is through an attempt to read together the same Bible passages each day. In the newsletter there is a link that has a schedule for us to read a chapter a day five days a week. During my daily online devotional on the church Face-book page on Monday through Thursday mornings, I usually pick one part of the reading for that day to focus on. I have also encouraged the practice of scripture memorization, something that has gone by the wayside for many.
The main reason I encourage these practices is that they ground us to the Word of God. When we go through challenging times, having the Scriptures “near” us through these practices can help to get us weather them. And let’s face it, we are all facing tough times right now. So many people are dealing with unbelievable amounts of stress, pain, and loss.
The very first verse I ever memorized is Proverbs 3:5,6:
Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.
These verses always remind me of four things. First, I need to trust that God is God. If God is who God says he is, I can’t half-heartedly follow him. What good is that? Second, I must trust that God is in control, that I am not. I am not always going to understand what God is doing. And even though I would rather God give me a preview of what’s coming next, I still find comfort in the fact that God knows more than me. Third, I can’t compartmentalize my faith. All parts of my life (“in all your ways…”) should bear witness to my relationship with Christ. And finally, I am reminded that God is in charge of the outcome, not me. When we are told that God will give us straight paths, what that means is that God will guide us, God is in control. It doesn’t mean that it will be easy or free of problems. It means that God is with us, protecting us and nurturing us.
Proverbs 3:5,6 has been part of my life since I was sixteen years old. Every time I have faced a hard decision or challenging period, these verses have a way of coming back to me. We do well to learn all we can from the Scriptures. They provide comfort, assurance, and guidance when most needed.
And boy, do we need those right now.