For years I struggled with the lack of a desire to read God’s word. I knew as a Christian I needed to search and study scripture, but in all honesty, I just couldn’t want to. I wanted to want to, yet I often found myself drifting off after only a few words and soon stopped picking it up outside of church all together. Most of us have heard that it takes 21 days to develop a habit. I decided to devote 30 minutes every morning for a whole month to reading scripture. Each reading would start with a prayer asking for clarity, wisdom and a desire to continue, but in the beginning, my mind would quickly wander to unfinished tasks, previous day’s events – anything other than the words on the pages in front of me.
One evening I happened upon the book of Esther and decided to read a few pages while waiting for my daughter to fall asleep. The opening scene described the king’s banquet thrown to boast his riches. As I read, I imagined the drunken attendants lounging around tables overflowing with food. Their obnoxious laughs bounced off of the cold, stone walls. The beautiful, sparsely clothed women seductively danced about the columns. I watched as King Ahasuerus’ face flushed from embarrassment then scowled in anger by Queen Vashiti’s refusal to display her beauty as demanded. I listened to his advisers convince the king to handle his woman and make an example for other wives who may have a desire to disobey their husbands’ commands too.
As the characters developed and the story unfolded, I found myself lost in the pages. The book ended, and I wanted more. I sat stunned at my reaction to Esther and wondered what other books were like this one. Then it dawned on me. I didn’t approach my reading of Esther with my bible tools in hand looking for God’s divine message to me. I simply read the book. What if I took this approach during my quiet time of reading God’s word?
I began seeing things differently on the pages. I saw the anguish on Pilate’s face when he realized the innocence of the Man standing before him – the Man whose life was hanging on his decision. I watched him pace about the platform, scratching his head in confusion as the crowd demanded the release of a murderous villain and the crucifixion of a humble Teacher. Later, I saw the same crowd beat their chests in remorse when they realized what had truly transpired at the place called The Skull.
The pages became alive. Questions stirred as I put myself in the middle of the words. What did Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego talk about with Jesus in the fiery furnace? How did Aaron keep from having a meltdown when he saw his two sons struck dead for not taking God’s instructions seriously? What was it about Jesus that enticed Peter and Andrew to immediately stop everything and follow Him?
The more I read, the more questions came to mind- the more questions, the stronger my desire to dig deeper into the Word to find the answers. There is still a need for a “bible student’s” approach where the text is examined and studied, but sometimes it helps fan the flames to grab a blanket and curl up with the Good Book.