For what feels like the umpteenth year in a row, I am attempting to make my way through the Bible in a Year. The idea is a wonderful one, and I love how easy it is to follow. But somehow, every year, I find myself a few days behind, then weeks, then months. I must have now read Genesis and Matthew 5 or 6 times, but I have yet to make a dent in Judges.
When I reached for the book the other day in prayer and found the marker still in December, I sighed as I tried to work out how many ‘days’ I would have to get through each prayer time to catch up.
And then God spoke up. Don’t you
hate love when He does that?
He asked me a simple question – “why are you doing this?” – but with it came a host of other questions and thoughts. Was I just trying to tick the ‘Christian who’s read the Bible’ box? Was I trying to prove to friends of other denominations that Catholics do know their Bible? Was I doing it to show off? …
And on the open page, I saw a simple verse from Luke:
“Blessed are those who HEAR the word of God and obey it.”
Is it more important that I race through the Bible and finish on time, or is it more important that I take the time to really hear the word of God and put it into practice in my life? Certainly the latter!
So it doesn’t matter that I’m a couple of months behind. This is not a race. Better by far that I take longer and really soak in the word of God, and let Him speak to me through it. You never know what I could miss if I didn’t!
It’s not easy, listening. As an English Literature graduate, I am easily tempted to plough on through the story. And sometimes, perhaps that is what I need, perhaps the story will speak more to me than one particular verse. But I find that those times when I truly watch and listen have almost always been the times that God has spoken most clearly. Often, all it takes is learning how to ‘be’.
What about you? Do you struggle with assigned Bible readings within a timescale? Do you find you race through reading or really soak in the Word?