Most of the time when I am bible journalling I sit down and work my way through the book of the bible that I am reading. And I’ve found it’s the pages that are the trickiest to illustrate that are often the ones where God speaks the most amazingly. I think as a young christian my bible reading would have been more “lucky dip”, or I would study scripture thematically. In more recent years though, I’ve taken quite seriously the fact that;
“All scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work” 2 Tim 3:16-17
So in my bible reading I’ve tried to make sure I am not just picking my favourite verses (out of context) but am also feeding myself on the sections that are harder to understand and require a bit more work to chew over (although, honestly, not quite as frequently as the psalms or gospels!) I love what Jesus said about the Holy spirit in John 14:26;
“But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, He will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you”.
The way I figure it is that if I read God’s words then the Holy Spirit is able to remind me of it when I need it! I love how He does this. A verse or phrase will just drop in my head and, with the amazing provision of a bible app on my phone, I can search and find the scripture that He is wanting to remind me of. This page was one of these times;
“I will extol the Lord at all times; His praise will always be on my lips, I will glory in the Lord; let the afflicted hear and rejoice. Glorify the Lord with me; let us exalt His name together. I sought the Lord, and He answered me; He delivered me from all my fears. Those who look to Him are radiant; their faces are never covered with shame. This poor man called, and the Lord heard him; He saved him out of all his troubles. The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear Him, and He delivers them. Taste and See that the Lord is good; blessed is the man who finds refuge in Him.” Psalm 34:1-5
When I turned and read this familiar passage the picture I could see in my head was golden honey dripping down. I often picture the glory of God like honey – like liquid gold, oozing, overflowing, translucent and full of light. The theme of seeking Him and asking carries on here too – but with such incredible testimony – I sought Him and He answered me. He delivered me from my fears, from my shame, from my troubles! I love the phrase in this chapter about when we look to Him our faces are radiant (like Moses). Then comes this amazing invitation “Taste and See that the Lord is good”. Isn’t that incredible? God doesn’t want us just to know theoretically about His goodness. He doesn’t want us to grit our teeth and believe hard in His goodness. He wants us to taste it. He wants us to see it. He wants us to experience His goodness.
Now I can be a fairly emotional person – I feel things strongly. I cry frequently. The danger is that feelings are notoriously fickle, unpredictable and changeable. They are easily swayed and influenced by my circumstances, preferences, hormones, even the weather! I can’t build my life on such a wobbly foundation. I must build on the truth of who He is – He is the same yesterday today and forever, He is always good, I am saved by grace through faith and this is a gift from God….etc. It’s a little bit like in marriage. My husband is the best – seriously wonderful. I love him so much – but there are seasons in our marriage when that love is easy, gushy, overflowing and there are other times when it’s harder and I might feel it less. Sometimes we disagree or misunderstand each other. Sometimes life is demanding and exhausting and we have little left to give to each other – these time are when the covenant of love and the contract of marriage are what holds us together until we feel “in love” again. And this is a bit like knowing God’s goodness. It is true and solid and never changing. But if a marriage is only ever a contract and you never feel or experience love then that marriage is not healthy. We don’t build on our feelings – we build on the covenant God has made at the cross. But God hasn’t made us robots – He has created us in His image to feel and experience, to taste and to see! In our desire not to get carried away with our emotions we can forget that God wants to use them to make Himself known. My prayer as I painted this page, and my prayer for you as I write this blog, is that we may not settle for just knowing about His goodness but actually get to know Him. He is so good!
Much love Rach