It’s hard to ignore what’s right in front of me in these times. Good news: Self-sacrificing essential workers, wise governors, scientists and inventors. Not-so-good news: A world-wide plague, stubborn injustice, invisible danger and dangerous people, economic troubles. News, opinions, testimonies, stories, hard questions—all of them front-and-center at almost every waking moment.
What’s also in my face is the witness of Scripture. Before the sudden downturn in troublesome events, I knew the spiritual truths embedded in the Bible. I believed that they were helpful—in a generic way—but they didn’t often rise to the level of Good News that matched my needs. What’s occurred over the past month, though, has changed all that: I need to have God’s stories, testimonies and hard questions in front of my eyes, in my thoughts, part of my self-image. To restate the old saw: I need to know who I am because of whose I am.
Because Scripture still comes at me in worship, conversations and personal devotions, I’m able to rediscover the rich wisdom of God. For example, in the Book of Proverbs, I come across provocative observations that fit hand-in-glove with what’s happening all around me. Inside of me, too.
Let me share some examples that speak comfort and encouragement to me right now. (I’m using the Contemporary English Version for its full-on way of opening Scripture.):
- “Don’t follow the example of cruel or evil people.” Proverbs 4:14
- “Be happy with the wife you married when you were young.” Proverbs 5:18
- “Good people are like trees with deep roots.” Proverbs 12:12b
- “Justice makes rulers powerful. They should hate evil and like honesty and truth.” Proverbs 16:12
- “How can we know what will happen to us when the Lord alone decides?” Proverbs 20:24
- “Don’t give up and be helpless in times of trouble.” Proverbs 24:10
- “The right word at the right time is like precious gold set in silver.” Proverbs 25:11
You can try this out, too: Pick some parts of Scripture that may have had only marginal personal meaning in the past, but now may connect to what’s happening in the world. See how the biblical witness speaks especially well to what else is whirling around inside of you. Good places to start: Jesus’ teachings in the Gospels or the more personal sections of Paul’s letters.
See what sticks to your soul, how Scripture makes sense for what you’re thinking and doing—or NOT thinking and doing. Pray about what you find, and be glad that there’s more in your face than the day’s news.
I’ll be doing the same!
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