See, I have grown up in the church. I have attended the Sunday services and Wednesday activities and special events since the beginning of time (my time). After I left high school and the “nest” I went to a private Baptist University, which was great, and continued to be immersed with Bible teaching. Even while in college I attended church, chapel, worship nights, and helped at the church in the children’s ministry. After college I was married and moved to Avoca and became the youth minister.
The point of this life story is to show that I have never really been away from the word of God, the Bible. There really has never been a time in my life where I was not able to find a Bible in my house, read it if I so desired, and know it. There has also never been a time in my life where I did not hear the Bible preached less than 2 or 3 times a month, at the bare minimum.
Some of you may be saying, “Well, good! You have grown up in the Bible and been able to avoid many traps that the Enemy tries to set.” And you would be right. I have certainly been blessed to never have to go without. God and his word have always been readily available and I have known this. So too, I have learned the stories of the Bible well. I can tell most stories in the Bible except for a few.
But what I am getting at is that recently there came a point in my life where the Bible did not mean anything anymore. It was a book. There were words on thin paper that made a funny crinkle sound when turned. Stories that happened so long ago that the names of many of the places have changed or been forgotten. It ceased being the very living and breathing word of God (to me).
So I took a leave of absence. Of course I read some of the Bible in preparation for Sunday and Wednesday lessons, but other than that my 20+ Bibles at my house remained unopened. Instead I chose a different route. I chose to try and experience God in the fictional, symbolic writing of C.S. Lewis and his books, The Chronicles of Narnia. This 7 book series took me much longer than it took my wife to read. I believe there was a point when she was on the 7th book I was on the 2nd or 3rd.
I chose to do this because I wanted to see God through the eyes of another person. The way C.S. Lewis wrote, I believe, is the way he sees God and his relation to the world. Not necessarily with magic and multiple worlds, but how the characters interact with one another and with Aslan, the “heavenly figure.” By the way, if you know nothing about the books except from watching the movies, you are greatly missing out! No comparison.
I have just finished reading the last of the books this past week and began to read the Bible again. I have started in the book of Judges, one that I have never read through. In this book there are amazing stories, both funny and some gross. Some days I substitute at the local schools and one day I was reading my Bible in class and one of the students asked me what I was reading. So I told them the story of Ehud and how he stabbed a guy and the whole sword went into this guys stomach, causing dung to come out!
Well, of course, all of the 8th graders really liked that story. And ever since I have had to tell them of different stories in the Bible because they are truly interested and find the Bible fascinating. So I also told them of the story of Deborah and of the real 300 and all of Gideon’s history. Also David and Goliath and David’s encounter with Saul in the cave.
And to be honest, they knew very little if anything about these stories but their excitement and eagerness to know more put me to shame. They were more interested in what the Bible had to say than I was. And I believe God allowed this to happen so that I could grow in my own faith.
By taking a break from reading the Bible, God has allowed me to appreciate it more and even begin to glean more truths and applications from the stories to my own life. From the creative mind of C.S. Lewis to the eagerness of 8th graders, God has shown me himself in a new and refreshing way.
I encourage you to take a break from the Bible if it is becoming more of a head knowledge than a heart knowledge. By not reading daily I never lost my faith in Jesus Christ and never doubted that God was not there and was not still the same loving, compassionate, just God. But now that I have been refreshed I am reading the Bible, not because I am supposed to, but because I want to know more. I want to grow closer. I want to thirst after God.
Take time away and try to experience God in a different way. Try serving at a local homeless shelter, church, or non-profit organization. Try simply talking about God more to others. Or even try reading some C.S. Lewis or other quality Christian authors. But I will bet that no matter what it is you choose to do, you will be brought back to the word of God. I know I was.
“For the word of God is living and active.” Hebrews 4:12a We will always be drawn to life when we truly seek after God and seek to have our soul, our heart, know him.
In Christ’s Love,