Posted by: JennyRain | January 11, 2010

Ancient Future: Can the Bible speak to my life now?

My doubt in the Bible’s applicability drove me to research, but my curiosity kept me learning.

In yesterday’s post I discussed how my journey into the Bible began and some of the questions I had as I wrestled with doubt.

Doubt sparked the flame, but it was really my curiosity about God that kept me seeking after knowledge and learning. The more I researched and read the Bible, the more I wanted to know.

Eventually my curiosity led me to seminary where I had the amazing privilege of studying Hebrew, taking survey courses where I learned the context of Biblical stories, and sitting under professors who allowed me to ask many, many questions.

We studied context of the culture, what some of the original words actually meant, we learned where scholars were unclear on meaning and where we had to let the text gravitate in a place of unknowing, we found out what was crystal clear in the text, we learned how to question and how to wrestle with the text until we found its center of gravity.

For one who loves to learn, seminary has been one of the pinnacle experiences in my life!

Yet even with all of those opportunities to learn about the Bible, it was one clarion moment in 2007 that revolutionized forever my thoughts about the Bible’s relevance in our lives.

In late 2006 I stepped out of the Corporate world. I knew my next steps were into ministry and rather than carrying all of my corporate baggage into the ministry world, I decided to take an eight-month break from working. This break was for the purpose of clearing out the “clutter” of bad habits I had adopted in Corporate America, and renewing my mind, body, and soul from some of the arduous experiences I had encountered there.

During that time, I did not seek employment, rather, I rested, prayed, spent time in God’s word, and concentrated on my studies.

I had saved enough money to live on through August of 2007, but after that, I was entirely dependent upon God’s guidance and open doors into ministry.

Surely, I reasoned, God would open an opportunity in full-time ministry before August. I mean, that is eight months! God is efficient enough to land me a job by then.

By August 1 when I looked at my opportunities and there was no job on the horizon, I started to get nervous.

When I get nervous about something, I plan.

I updated my resume, began looking online, and engrossed myself in a flurry of job-seeker-activity. The more action I took, the less peace I found, but I knew I needed to do something besides just sit and wait for God to provide.

My anxiety grew and started to shut out that still, small voice in my soul saying “Stop.”

Of course, every avenue I pursued turned up a dead end because though I was done with my break, God was not.

One particularly anxiety-laden day as I was walking out of Publix I spotted a possible job opportunity.

Filet Steak and Seafood was looking for servers so I decided that I would become a waitress.

A waitress! That is what I will be – a waitress! Waitressing is ministry, right? I can minister to each person at my tables, encourage them, pray for them. It is perfect! I’ll make enough to survive and help people through their day.

Nevermind the fact that I had never waited a table in my life and at that time – had the customer-service skills of a bull in a china shop.

So as I made a beeline to the restaurant next to Publix, resolute on my decision to become a waitress, I heard this…

It would not be right for us to neglect the ministry of the word of God in order to wait on tables

No lie.

It stopped me dead in my tracks.

By that point I knew God’s voice and I knew the cadence, style, and form of Biblical scripture, so I had a pretty good idea that what I had just heard was from above.

Needless to say, my plan went down the tubes in nano-seconds.  However, in that instant, I developed a personal, convicting faith in the Word of God as a practical, just-in-time, very relevant tool for guidance in my life. I saw God work through His word in a real, personal way in  my life.

I later discovered that this was, in fact, a scripture in the book of Acts. I spent some time rustling through Acts and found several other pearls of wisdom that continue to guide my life in ministry to this day.

I probably do not have to tell you that I no longer find the word of God irrelevant.

It is now a vital, life-sustaining avenue to understanding the will of God. I view it as intensely personal, very applicable, and one of the best sources of creative ideas for me when I find myself in a pickel.

So what happened after that experience?

Two weeks later God provided for me financially through a very unexpected source. I received exactly enough to carry me from September to December of 2007. In mid-December of 2007 I was offered a position in ministry with my church in Georgia that started in January of 2008.

But the greatest blessing from that experience was the faith I developed in God speaking through his word. So many doubts and questions I carried with me about the veracity, applicability and usefulness of the Bible were answered in that one instant with God.

It was faith that three years of seminary and eight years of consistent study in the Bible could not create. Those were integral to the development of my faith, but this one event really cemented it.

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  1. […] in tomorrow for the rest of the story! (or just click the blue link to the left […]

  2. […] It was the exact opposite of what I wrote about yesterday! […]

  3. […] the time I thought I would become a waitress to settle some mounting seminary debt…but God had other […]


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