I have a pretty good memory. I can remember back to when I was about 18 months old and my memory is pretty reliable.
So, it’s frustrating that this memory does not seem to stick around when I read.
And I read a lot. I read and read and read. Then about a week after I’ve read a book, it’s like my memory gets erased. I can’t tell you much about it. I’ve moved on.
If I don’t keep lists of books I have read, I will buy them again and be half-way through the book before I think “Hmm, I think I’ve read this before!” Kind of frustrating!
This weekend, I found myself laying on my hotel room bed yearning for some scripture to lean on to be my theme for my little mini-retreat by myself. I was surrounded by books, a journal, pens, highlighters and my Bible. I was ready to do this! But no scripture came to mind.
I spent a few minutes reading in Matthew and then decided I wanted to skip back over to the Psalms. When in doubt, the Psalms are a good place to visit.
But again, especially in the Bible, I can’t remember where anything is despite a lifetime of reading it.
So, I decided I would go to the first chapter number that popped into my head.
First, I went to chapter 32. Verses 7 & 10 stuck out to me:
“You are my hiding place; you will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance.” – v. 7
“Many are the woes of the wicked but the Lord’s unfailing love surrounds the one who trusts in him.” – v.10
I immediately started singing the song that goes with this verse hoping that my next door neighbors couldn’t hear all the lovely, holy singing going on. (right!)
The next chapter that popped into my head was chapter 15 where God was calling me to:
- be blameless
- do what is righteous
- speak truth
- not slander
- do no wrong to others
- not slur others
- honor those who fear the Lord
- keep oaths even when it hurts
- not change my mind
- give to the poor
- not accept bribes
“Whoever does these things will never be shaken.”
I thought these were all really good so far, so I tried for another and went to chapter 25. Here I stopped and spent time asking God to:
- help me trust him
- show me his ways
- teach me his paths
- guide me
- teach me
I then reflected on how God is a God of hope and is good, loving and faithful.
And then I got to verses 14-22, and it’s like God put together all of what I had been reading together, and BOOM…the Holy Spirit was thick and extremely present in the room. I was overwhelmed. It was almost hard to breathe.
When I got done with this little spontaneous exercise, I sat back on my pillow for a few minutes and was like “Wow!”
I went into this time not knowing what the heck I was doing, but God showed up! God doesn’t need me to be perfect, know where every Bible verse is, and know all the answers. He just needs me to keep showing up!
And if I do that, He will too!