…be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. (Romans 12:2 ESV)
I find that when I’m not doing so well emotionally, what I most need is God’s word, yet meditating or thinking deeply upon the Bible eludes me. At these times my fallback strategy is to just keep reading — allowing the flow of biblical words and thoughts to wash over me, slowly eroding a better stream through my heart.
There is a saying (commonly ascribed to Charles Spurgeon, though some attribute it to Vance Havner) that “The Bible that is falling apart usually belongs to someone who isn’t.” I am obviously not there yet — my soul is definitely rather frayed, whereas my bible still looks reasonably new (I did buy this one only 2 years ago!).
Sometimes it can be extraordinarily difficult to read the Bible, particularly when my heart is far from God. For this reason I try to make the most of any motivation to read the Bible while it exists, building a reservoir to draw upon when my heart dries up.
At the moment, although I feel like crap inside, reading the Bible helps me greatly. Getting some quiet space and reading a good chunk of Scripture feels like the spiritual equivalent of a deliciously hot shower, allowing the Word to wash over me, taking away the grime and releasing tension. What’s more, I can have a half hour Bible-read without worrying about the electricity bill!
For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven
and do not return there but water the earth,
making it bring forth and sprout,
giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater,
so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth;
it shall not return to me empty,
but it shall accomplish that which I purpose,
and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.
(Isaiah 55:10-11 ESV)