Have you ever experienced scripture jumping off the page onto your lap, surprising with unexpected delight, a delight similar to how you might feel if a baby kangaroo leaped out of a bush onto your lap while you sat on a bench in a park? Scripture has the power to elicit such abounding joy from out of nowhere. Yet, scripture can also leap off the page and pierce our hearts. A passage might convict us, for instance, of a our need to forgive someone who hurt us long ago. Scripture can also awaken us to abundant grace we so often miss. These are OH WOW” moments. They make me think of Hebrews 4:12 which defines scripture as living and active, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow..able to discern the thoughts and intentions of the heart.
I now understand why the Bible is often called the living word.
One scripture I read this week, which I’ve read over a hundred times, the go-to scripture when we’re worried about not having enough provisions, of Jesus describing why we should not worry about what we will eat or wear, hit me between the eyes like a lightening bolt. It’s a verse that I’ve always thought of as so beautiful, conjuring up a scene in my mind like in a painting, all colorful and flowery and regal, birds resting in trees and barns surrounded by fields of white lilies, King Solomon standing in the middle of the field wearing jewels and finery, as a soft wind blows through his silver hair. But this time it penetrated my soul, awakening me to the magnificent generousity of a loving God and provider who always gives more than we can imagine.
Jesus spoke: Therefore, I say to you, don’t worry about your life, what you’ll eat or what you’ll drink, or about your body, what you’ll wear. Isn’t life more than food and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds in the sky. They don’t sow seed or harvest grain or gather crops into barns. Yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Aren’t you worth much more than they are? Who among you by worrying can add a single moment to your life? And why do you worry about clothes? Notice how the lilies in the field grow. They don’t wear themselves out with work, and they don’t spin cloth. But I say to you that even Solomon in all of his splendor wasn’t dressed like one of these. If God dresses grass in the field so beautifully, even though it’s alive today and tomorrow it’s thrown into the furnace, won’t God do much more for you, you people of weak faith?
Won’t God do much more for you, you people of weak faith?
How much more does God give to us? More than Solomon in all his splendor, dressing us better than the green fields, the home of acres of white lilies. How much more, Jesus said over and over again in many different ways, a string of other scriptures resounding through my mind like angels stringing a necklace of pearls together.
He said, I have come so that people may live and that they may enjoy life to the full.
He spoke these words: Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. Which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him.
He said, I assure you, if anyone says to this mountain, Be lifted up and thrown into the sea, and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says will happen, it will be done for him.
St. Paul reiterated the gifts of God who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us.
The fact is, we often read scripture and view God through the narrow lens of an anxious mind and heart, a heart of little faith. We forget God’s omnipotence, as we shrink God into human sizes and shapes. How can we possibly believe God has plans for us to prosper, to give us a future of hope when worry imprisons us in our own skin? Who could imagine God’s stunning promises when we’re shackled by such shortsightedness?
We of little faith just need a little more faith, faith even the size of a mustard seed to open the doors to heaven on earth. Jesus told them, For I assure you: If you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will tell this mountain, Move from here to there, and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.
How much more does God give?
More, and more and more. Grace upon grace. Mercy upon mercy. Splendor upon splendor.
And what’s more, Jesus said, Look! I stand at the door and knock. If you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in, and we will share a meal together as friends.
My prayer today is that scripture leaps off the page onto our laps and into our hearts, and that we will open the door when we hear the voice of Christ.