I’ve a little story to tell – it’s not that long but too long to tell in a church service.
Its main thrust is about God’s timing. We hear that it’s perfect but if you’re anything like me you probably find it’s often hard to fathom.
I’m not a very measured character, I’m quite impetuous, welcome change and can be impatient – when I’ve prayed to God for something, I’d like to have a response yesterday rather than four years down the line. Fortunately God is in charge of my life and not me!
Most of you who know me will also know that I’m a writer. Now any writer worth their salt also needs to be a reader and this I have been all my life – and a voracious one.
For instance, I not only always read before going to sleep, but would never think of going anywhere, appointments, journeys however short, relaxing in the garden, just nowhere, without reading material and usually in the form of good contemporary literature.
I guess my addiction to books could be compared to the reluctant smoker stepping outside without a fag secreted on their person!
Anyway, God did periodically have a little word in my shell-like ear – He knew I read my bible but He quite rightly knew that I was often lured away by my latest good read.
A couple of years ago whilst a group of us was praying about this, that and the other in home-group, God prompted me to speak openly about my concerns on this subject and after which there was prayer by me and for me.
Nothing too radical took place, but a year ago, another Godly nudge caused me to announce to my Readers’ Group of many, many years, that I would be taking 12 months sabbatical. I gave my reasons as being that I wanted to focus more on my poetry writing, poetry reading and reading my bible. To my shame I did sort of whisper the last bit.
Since Christmas 2008 I have read far fewer novels and considerably more of God’s word. In our home, as I’m sure is the case in many homes, we have several versions of the bible ranging from the King James version, The Living Bible, NIV, Good News and a particular favourite of mine, The Message; but about two weeks ago, Steve came home from the Steve Oak Memorial Golf Day (I’d better say here that he returned as captain of the winning team!) and handed me a little copy of the New International Version of New Testament and Psalms that all the players had been given. It was just the right size for this girlie’s handbag and being a bit of a victim to style I liked everything about it – its long narrow shape, its rice paper thin pages and its gold leaf edges, and it now goes everywhere with me.
I can honestly say that I have never since becoming a Christian nearly 30 years ago, found myself so deeply engrossed in the bible and just loving it and wanting to – can I say this? – gobble it up. No wonder it’s the world’s No.1 bestseller!
This Friday afternoon I had finished work, the sun was shining and the garden welcomed. I took a couple of books outside and, armed with my bag and a glass of cold ginger beer, I settled myself in a comfy garden chair. I tried one book – no! Then the other – no! and yes you guessed it – God’s book beckoned.
Now I don’t want to become a literary anorexic but I am delighted to experience God’s hand on my life and I think I can appreciate the stages the Lord took me through to diminish my appetite, and the little add-ons in the form of my small but perfectly formed bible.
What I did do this afternoon apart from write this, was to try and learn a psalm – my ability to memorise is zilch and I have also had a word in God’s ear about this. I’ve started on Psalm 150 which I believe is one of the shortest and I now wait to see how God answers this one – but you can be sure I’ll definitely let you know when I can recite Psalm 119!
12 June 2009