"The sweetest thing in all my life has been the longing —
to reach the Mountain, to find the place where all the beauty came from —
my country, the place where I ought to have been born. Do you think it all meant nothing,
all the longing? The longing for home? For indeed it now feels not like going, but like going back."

~C.S. Lewis

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

The Light of Men: Desperately reclaiming a desire for the Bible

As my last post said, I have been challenged by prayer. But there has been another area I have been talking to the Lord about: reading the Scriptures.

I wanted to love the Bible. I really did. When I was asked what my favorite book was, I wanted to answer, “the Bible.” But, if I were truly honest, I couldn’t. I wasn’t fascinated by it; I didn’t read it for hours; and to be perfectly honest, it really didn’t change my life all that much. What was wrong with me? What kind of hypocritical Christian was I?

There were many reasons for my deadness regarding Scripture, and I am not proud of them, not proud at all. I had a difficult translation of the Bible that made me feel like I wasn’t even reading English. I would have set amounts of time I would “have” to read in order to feel “spiritual,” and I would constantly check the clock to see if I was “done.” I even went as far as, in my quest to “get something out of it,” making sure I wrote notes and marking the text on every single page; I forced myself to have a note per page, or I wouldn’t move on, with my goal to have writing on every page of my Bible. It was that depressing goal, and not any true, soul-deep desire for the face of Jesus that kept me slogging through the mire of the text. But most of all—I had no reason to read it. What was I doing? What was I learning? Nothing but words on a page.

Maybe I shouldn’t be speaking all this in past tense, for it is something I am just delving into, but it’s changing. The more I learn of beauty and maia and glory, the more I change. For those things—being in the presence of God, loving Jesus as a Prince and not just a King, maia, Seeing myself and Seeing others, the gospel of the holistic kingdom and not of anything else—so many things I have not even begun to explain here—they are opening my eyes to a world and life so glorious that I cannot but fall on my knees and worship my King.

But, then, I would ask—why do I not see all these things in the Bible? It seems that I experience them first personally, experientially, independent of learning them in the Bible beforehand. But, perhaps I do see them in Scripture. Maybe—maybe—the Bible is meant to be what teaches, clarifies, and explains what we experience here on earth, in a cyclical cycle. First, apart from Christ, we feel drawn to something more, at which point the Bible shows us how to enter Jesus’ kingdom as royalty, and then perhaps as we begin opening to that and experiencing it in maia and glory and Seeing here in perfect impacting experience instead of just words on a page, and after that—or simultaneously—we reach back to the Bible and are taught, clarified, corrected, and expanded regarding the glory we felt in real, experiential life, and it goes around and around, deeper and deeper, spiral after spiral, further up and further in.

When I read my Bible in the morning, then, I am reading to understand the world around me, what I feel, my life, maia, Seeing—I am reading to be told how to understand and further such desperate glory and beauty in this life and in this kingdom and in my soul. It is like uncovering jewels; you know every verse is holding jewels that would change you and change the world, but you do not always recognize them. Every chapter and verse will not transform you every day, because you don’t see the same every day; you don’t always see the jewel glittering in the sand. But, someday, you will. And something, today, will speak to you. So keep searching. Keep reading. It is there, and the Lord will show you.

Then, instead of an academic exercise, or something to check off the list, searching the Scriptures becomes the most eye-opening adventure in being transformed to something far greater than you ever knew possible. It is where you hunger after each word to tell you more about the glory God is showing you, and where you fill your readings with prayer and dialogue with the Writer, in anticipation of what perfect majesty He wants to show you today.

You feel truly alive. You feel like light is breaking through. For in the Word is life, and that life is the light of men.