Monday, November 21, 2011

Scar Tissue

I don't like reading the Bible.  I know, it sounds terrible.  It is terrible.  I'm really worried about it.  I've thought for the longest time that this was just some kind of weird holdover from darker spiritual days.  I'm sure that it is, I spent years not reading the book, not caring what God had to say, and feeling like the more I learned about God the more uncomfortable I was with him.   

Please don't think I don't believe the Bible or don't have a desire to accurately understand what it teaches. I love the Bible. I love that I have it in 5 different versions right on my phone and IPad. I want to know God and his will for my life. I read as much as I can about God in as many books as I can get my hands on and I do read the Bible, I enjoy it when its directed study. When I'm reading it for answers to specific theological questions. I don't like undirected mass reading. I have a hard time understanding why. It's the greatest story ever told. It bothers me that I can read all seven Harry Potter books multiple times and then get bored reading scripture. J.K. Rowlings is not a better story teller than God. The Bible is more powerful and interesting and relevant than any book ever written and yet it's the most difficult for me to read. It is life and joy and peace and salvation and I'm bored by it. How can that be? It's very frustrating. I think I'm doing it on purpose. I distance myself from it's stories because I know they are mirrors. I am Thomas and Judas and Peter (I'm denying, sinking Peter, not walks on water Peter the rock). It's easier to create distance and be bored than to take a good look at what I am and how I live. I'm confident in who I am in Christ and I understand how God, in perfect grace and love, sees me through the blood of his Son. I know what Jesus accomplished on the cross and I know he did his work there perfectly. It's just difficult to be reminded of why it was necessary.

I'm in a better place spiritually than I have been in a very long time and I feel like I'm continuing to improve.  However, I'm constantly discovering ways in which my rebellion is still effecting  me.  I'm scarred.  The healing process is not complete, my recovery is ongoing. 

When it comes to the Bible it seems the scar tissue is thick.  It restricts free movement and makes any stretch painful.  I simply can't jog through the Bible with the same pace and enjoyment I can other books.  It's time I see it for what it is - rehab.  I want to do so much so quick, but it hurts enough to stop me before I really get started. 

The past few months I've spent a good amount of time studying scripture.  That kind of Bible reading I can do.  If I pick a topic and read to understand that topic the pain is minimized.  I look up what scripture deals with the issue I'm researching and read only that scripture and the text surrounding it.  I've read an awful lot of Bible lately, but I've done it to nail down one issue at a time.  I can't just open the Book and start reading.  It's like someone sneaking up in the dark and ripping a bandage off when you're not expecting it. I know these muscles have to stretched to be strengthened, I think I was just expecting the process to be less painful.  I've been surprised by the difficulty.

God has been as compassionate and kind and gentle as possible, some things are just going to hurt.  I watched my wife take a splinter out of my daughters foot a while back.  The wife was being kind and reassuring and gentle, the daughter was screaming like someone was trying to kill her.  I'm sure that's how this is going to be for me.  If, in the next few posts, it seems like I'm screaming you have one of two options: 1. Ignore it.  It will all be over soon and it's ok it you want to look away.  I'm afraid it might not be pretty.  2. Help hold me down.