This is the ninth entry in a series of posts by Brian Hardin, author and founder of Daily Audio Bible. In his previous essay, Living the Bible in Your Family, Brian discussed the importance of raising a family to love God’s Word. Here’s his latest essay, drawn from Brian’s book Passages: How Reading the Bible in a Year Will Change Everything for You.
Once I took a ride south along Highway 1 in Oregon along the Pacific Ocean. When I came across a massive stretch of empty beach, I hiked down the sand embankment in the rain to the coast. A few more paces down the coastal prairie path and I was on the open beach, walled in by massive rock formations rising from the ocean floor that captured and amplified her roar. I was overcome by the sheer power of the waves. I felt like a speck, like one of the grains of sand.Facing the roar of the open sea, I had to bow to the creative force of God, who first conceived it and then spoke it into existence—a mere symbol of his glory and power. Unexpectedly a wave of heartache washed over me with the thought of my children, who were growing faster than I was comfortable with. It wasn’t the kind of heartache that left me hopeless; it was the kind that any parent can relate to. We are caretakers for but a moment, and then we hold our breath, cross our fingers, and breathe a fervent prayer as we watch them float away to write their own chapters on the tablets of history.
This is the kind of longing and profound love our heavenly Father feels for us. He creates a world for us, new every day, perhaps holding his breath and hoping to draw us closer to his heart. He leads and guides, but when all is said and done, we each choose freely where we will go.
I have denied God in my life. I’ve questioned every value I was ever taught. I’ve resented. I’ve run. But time has allowed me to see that I was blaming God for everything I ever saw go wrong, heaping on him everything I could not explain on my own. It took years to realize that God wasn’t behaving questionably. People were. I was. And God was watching the whole time, sending me love notes in a sunset or in an unexpected snow covering the Tennessee hill country. I would have never understood this without the Bible. Never.
Finding your place in God’s story means listening with the ears of your heart and living life in the poetic rather than the purely rational. To find enrichment from Scripture while participating in an authentic relationship with God, we must reclaim the aspect of our faith that encourages a state of wonder, or a more poetic experience of faith. We can’t force the deepest of spiritual matters to submit to the will of reason without doing violence to them; this is not how faith operates.
The writer of Hebrews declares, “Faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see” (Hebrews 11:1). Faith includes more than the rational mind alone can perceive. In order to locate ourselves in God’s story, we have to place reason in its proper position and give faith its rightful place. We have to look at the world through the eyes of the poet by embracing more than reason. We must be open to things like art to capture and express what is otherwise inarticulate about our experience of God. This is where God resides.
Why won’t God speak more clearly to us? we wonder. Oh, but he is. He is always speaking to us, through everything, everywhere—and he’s given us this book, telling us the story of who we are and the enormous lengths he’s been willing to go through to bring us back home. Slow down and look around you. God is calling your name.
Watch for the next post in this series later this month! In the meantime, you can read more of Brian’s writing in Passages, or follow his work at Daily Audio Bible. You can keep up with him each day at his blog, Twitter feed, or Facebook or G+ pages.