I know I am being prodded daily to open up and connect more with others. As much as I think I would prefer otherwise, I am realizing that even when I am vulnerable, I am at my best when I’ve been with ‘my people’, as they say. Sparks of clearer understanding appear, ideas are lit, well, my heart is lit. And I need that to write. I need that to live.
As you may well know, I am reading the Bible once a day with a group of leaders this year who are committed to doing the same. That took a lot for me to commit to. I have loved following my own well-traveled path and plan of reading the Bible everyday. Doing it with others seemed like a recipe for disaster. What can I say, I’ve grown to treasure the peace of solitude.
But this exercise, so to speak, of reading the Love Letter with others, has taken me on a new path, and I am discovering much more than I had expected. For one, it’s become a part of my blogging (as you might have noticed). Never before would you find me writing about the Bible. Sure, maybe a scripture here or there, and a subtle profession of faith, but this is very different.
If the subject of the Bible makes you groan as it once did me, I ask that you please hang with me a moment and give me an ear. I’m on Day 178, nearing the end of II Kings. I know. Hang on. The truth is, the long line of bad kings is really doing me in. This is tough reading for me. And then it’s on to Chronicles. Yippee Chronicles, I think. Two of them! All I can say is thank goodness for the Gospels, the New Testament, and the Psalms, or I don’t think I could hang in there this time. Do you ever feel that way? I need my people.
So on with it. Often as I’m reading, I want to step into the scene, smell the air, feel the climate, see the altars—good and bad, to better understand. And speaking of good and bad, has anyone else exhaled when you read that Hezekiah did what was right in the eyes of the LORD?
The few kings that worshipped the LORD before Hezekiah, had not done away with the high places. (Always holding onto something, I think, hint hint). But it’s like, come on guys! Seriously? (And then I wonder how often God says that about me…?) It always led to their fall in leadership.
But finally, Hezekiah trusted in the LORD. He held fast to “the Compass” as one of my Bible buddies referred to last week. He remained obedient and as another pal pointed out, with obedience comes humility. (It knocks and says, “Let me in!”) Hezekiah remained humble. So the LORD was with Hezekiah and he was successful in whatever he undertook (2 Kings 18:5-7). Boom!
Of course, that didn’t mean he was free of trials and struggles. You’ll see soon enough, Sennacherib was waiting in the wings–as someone or something always is, to test and try our faith, to mold and shape us into who God designed us to be. But like Jerusalem, coming up in Chapter 19, deliverance is foretold. God is our Deliverer.
So, today I want to say to myself and to you, hang in there. Whatever you are dealing with (and I am certain it is something) the eternal God is our refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms. (Deuteronomy 33:2). We need each other.
“This promise is to those who rise above the earth-life and seek to soar higher, to the Kingdom of Heaven. You must not feel the burden of your failure. Go in faith, the clouds will clear, and the way will lighten.” That’s from my devotional, God Calling.
I don’t know about you, but I needed that promise today. It feels good to share it, as it always does my heart good to connect with you and hear from you. What a gift. Oh, that feels good…you are such a blessing to me. I need my people.
The delightful photo is by Raphael Schaller, Unsplash. I just love it! Could it be more perfect? Like I said, God is always out there trying to connect us…for the good of His purpose, in us, and through us. We don’t have to do it alone. Thanks Raphael!