I started a new devotional last week, which actually isn't anything new for me considering I tend to start a new devotional every few weeks (not that I actually finish any I start, but the attempt is still there). Anyway, in today's "lesson" the author lists 77 passages of scripture that address different situations/feelings that we might find ourselves in... like depression, stress, fear, failure, etc. As I looked up each scripture and wrote them in my journal, I had to laugh a little at the author's side note that this was not an exhaustive list. I thought " well obviously it's not an exhaustive list, otherwise we would probably have to write out the whole Bible for the activity"! And that's when it dawned on me...again... that the Bible really is the go to book for life!
I don't know if you've ever heard the acronym for the Bible.. Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth... but I think the Bible is so much more than that! That's so just the beginning of what the Bible can be for us! And I'll be honest, there are some days when I read God's word just to say that I've read it and thus don't really get anything out of it, but when I read it really seeking out God's truth or help with some issue, I always find the encouragement or direction I need!
For example, something that I often struggle with is the urge to overeat. I don't even have to be hungry! I just love food...the flavors, the textures, the way it sets off alarms in the pleasure centers of my brain... and there are moments in time when I just have to have it all, now, and I loose all control (it's totally something I am working on). Now normally when I share this struggle with people, they give me the oh so common verse of "you can do all things thru Christ who strengthens you" (Philippians 4:19), meaning that I don't have to give in to this desire to over-indulge, I can just rely on the strength of God and get thru it without diving into the deep end of shame and regret that always comes after such episodes. The truth is, that verse works for a lot of people in the very same situation, but it doesn't really work for me. What verse does work though (when I actually think about it) is Hebrew 10:36, "Patient endurance is what you need now...then you will receive all that God has promised"! I'm pretty sure that verse isn't talking about food, but for me, it reminds me that if I wait out my momentary desire then in the end I will have what I really want...a healthier body/lifestyle.
Or here's another example, I am a pretty anxious person. I don't want to be, I want to learn to Fully Rely On God (F.R.O.G... what is it with me and these acronyms today!) but my mind can go from 0 to 960 in less then a second and things that would never concern any other normal person, can send me into a tailspin of worst case scenarios. Many people have quoted Philippians 4:4-7 to me, which is all about not worrying about anything, but instead praying and trusting God, but some how that always makes me feel worse... like now, on top of all my other worry, I have to worry that I'm not doing this Christian thing right cause clearly I am not turning everything over to God. I am actually much more easily talked off the edge by verses like "The Lord will work out His plans for my life" (Psalms 138:7-8), that remind me that I am not the one in control He is!
That's the great thing about the Bible too though, God speaks to His children through it on an individual level! What works for me, might not work for you, and what works for you, might not work for me, but either way, there's so much in their that something will always fit exactly what we as individuals need in every specific circumstance we need it in. So you see, the Bible is so much more than an instruction manual, it's an encourager, a comforter, a director, and the very voice of God! If you find yourself in this moment needing to hear from God, open His book, He's already said so much to us in it, we just have to take the time to listen!