On my quest to finish reading the Bible as part of this two year plan (stretched out from initially a one year goal…), I landed on the book of Chronicles today. Decided to be efficient and listen to a few chapters while walking with my dog.
Score! Especially when it’s a book I anticipate to be on the dry side…
Before I read God’s word (or listen to it, in this case), I have learned to pause first. To lift my eyes to Him and ask to see His truth. I remind myself out of loud that I am not doing this to merely check off a box, to make God happy, or to meet my New Year’s resolution.
I have to say this for myself…because it’s what my heart almost daily is tempted to make any spiritual act.
A means to God’s pleasure. A spiritual dolling myself up and primping before I see Him. A way I can control how He sees me, how He feels about me.
Amazing how much power this little human creatively imagines herself to possess over the Creator of all things. Wow.
Back to Chronicles.
In case you’re unfamiliar, it’s basically what it sounds like- a chronicle of happenings in the kingdom of Israel way back when. It includes some story, but it has ever so many paragraphs, line after line, of genealogies, lists of names, whom begat whom, etc.
All fluff aside, I struggle to see the spiritual significance of books like these.
I thank God for the audiobook Bible, because it helps me get through tedious books like this…
And even still, as I read over or listen to a lengthy list of name…I have often found my mind wandering to that activity tonight, that recent conflict, mulling over a difficult relationship…
Anything but the names and words themselves. I always feel a tad guilty when I do this….but I’ve been learning to see myself the way Jesus does…
And I imagine He get a chuckle out of my imagination and the way my brain is wired. I don’t have to hide my wandering thoughts from Him; He already knows about them. He made me the way I am and so he understands why names, names, names bore me almost to tears.
More than any other, He gets me.
What a gift.
What a beautiful, freeing thought.
And even sweeter still is the truth He let me see through this monotonous list of names today.
As I listened, I kept trying to see the Lord in it. Asking Him what I could take from this. How could I know Him better through my time spent in this chapter?
And He gave me the gift of a few realizations…
- Even with so many fathers and sons and grandsons listed on and on, He was present, within reach, and wanting to know and be know by each one individually.
- Each person named in this book had a choice- to reach out for their Creator God or reject Him.
- Somehow, our God is able to be in intimate, loving relationship with every name in that book, and not only there but with every one of the over 6 billion people on the planet today. If only each person will call on his name! How crazy and unfathomable is that!
- Each person named in this book has a unique story. Fears, hurts, wounds, joys, celebration, grief. It’s easy to forget that when the chapter skips over their short little name in a second’s time and elaborates not at all. And that’s it’s. Snap, done.
- My Father God isn’t overwhelmed by the same things that distress me. I imagine being welcomed into the Chronicles family reunion…I would sit there petrified, quiet as a clam, wallflower standing back awkwardly… fearful of forgetting a name, anxious to remember who belongs with who and who did what…I picture God drawing me out to meet everyone, good-naturedly chuckling as I forgot a name, helping me feel so at home that my fears dissipate.
And I stand here thankful.
Because every season, every piece of life, big or small, can leave us with a gift from our great God…if we’ll ask Him to show us, if we’ll open our eyes to His truth all around.