I know. You see it there with its soft layer of dust and you want to gently wipe it down, pick it up. But it’s hard isn’t it? There’s always something else vying for your attention. There’s always another book to read, instead.
Maybe you manage to pick it up and open it, and then you glance beside it to your phone, and your world is there instead, so you open that, scroll through and are left… well, empty.
Maybe you’re like me, and you want to read, and you want to understand but gosh, so much just does not. make. sense.
Why does Jesus want to keep His miracles a secret? (Mark 5)
Why did Jesus always talk in parables? They’re riddle-like, and what if they don’t mean what you you think they do? (Mark 6)
What does it mean when it says the disciples hearts were hardened? (Mark 6)
Why does Jesus refer to the Gentile woman as a dog?! (Mark 7)
And not understanding frustrates you, and makes you feel foolish, I know. Me too.
We frown at these ancient texts and we try to squeeze them to fit into our modern culture and when they don’t fit, we throw up our hands and leave the whole book to amass a fresh layer of dust.
But you, like me, need to know this:
You don’t need to have all the answers.
There’s not a one-size-fits-all kind of faith.
The Bible isn’t written in stories and parables to keep us out, but to draw us in.
It’s written to lead us to the good questions, the big questions, the hard questions.
It pulls us to conversation, to going around and around and asking each other, what if? What if it means this? Today, it spoke to my heart this way.
It asks us to imagine; imagine walking dusty roads to Jerusalem.
Imagine walking up stone steps to the temple, or piling stones along the way to remember what was behind you, and hope for what lies ahead.
The Bible calls us to imagine what mercy and justice would look like in our time, in our day, and to walk that out humbly with our words, our actions, our service.
Ancient poetry moves us towards the bigness of God—the one who keeps the sea in its boundaries, the moon in its place, the sun rising another day. It grounds us into self-reflection, the reality of our own human failings, our messes and mistakes; and then shows us a God who is kind, in a Son who walked the earth teaching us to love our neighbours.
Dear You, why don’t you find a quiet place today. Retreat. Open the book, flick through it’s fine pages. Rest in the Psalms, or land in the gospels and follow Jesus through Israel as He sought to show us how to lift our eyes to an invisible kingdom. One where friends lay their lives down for one another, one where the stranger crosses the street to help another who looks and speaks differently to himself. A kingdom where hustling puts you in last place, but allowing others to go first is what wins the prize.
I found Him this week in the Gospel of Mark, calling a woman who’d been bleeding for a decade, Daughter. I found him, asking the blind man, What would you like me to do for you? and then restoring his sight to him. I found him getting hungry, tired, grieving, compassionate. Human.
Along with the questions and the lack of our understanding, I’ve had glimpses of this Jesus and the band of imperfect, often faithless men who followed him, hungry for all he had to teach them. And I saw myself in those disciples too; often getting it wrong, often full of fear not faith, yet still hungry for all He has to teach me.
Dear You, don’t worry if you don’t have the answers.
None of us do, but it won’t stop us from looking.
PS reading through the gospels this September with Hannah Brencher and a whole bunch of girls all around the world and it is good.