Have you ever not liked the Bible?
I mean, have you ever read a passage of Scripture and felt part of you push back against it, “NOPE!!”
That’s what happened to me recently. I’m part of a women’s leadership group at my church, and we were all given an assignment to draw a Bible verse out of a jar and write a 300-500 word devotional about it. When I drew Matthew 19:26 out of the jar my mind yelled “Nope!”, my stomach tightened up, and I even put it back and picked a different verse. As I sat trying to listen to my sisters share their devotionals, God kept interrupting –
“What are you doing here, Sara?”
I’m trying to pay attention to this devo, God.
“What are you doing, Sara?”
Fine, I’m running away from that verse. I don’t like it.
“What are you going to do now, Sara?”
His voice was so patient, gentle, and persistent with me that I finally stopped trying to ignore him. I returned to the jar and, wouldn’t you know it, Matthew 19:26 was the first verse I pulled out, even though the jar had been mixed and several other ladies had selected their own verses.
“But Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”Matthew 19:26 ESV
Haha, God. Very funny.
The part of me that wanted to throw that verse away was triggered by an old wound. It sounded something like this in my heart: “If God is good and all things are possible for him, then why doesn’t he do good things for me? Since all things are possible for him, he’s got no excuses!”
But, I thought I was over this. I wrote a book about feeling disappointed by God and how to resolve that! I wasn’t supposed to be questioning God’s goodness anymore!
But the Spirit knew better.
Your negative responses to the truth in Scripture are just as important as your positive responses. When part of you pushes back against the Bible, God wants to use that as an opportunity to take your healing and growth to the next level. He’s not mad or disappointed with you. He already knows you have an inner fence against that verse, and he knows why it’s there.
I didn’t have time in that 300-500 word devotional to go into all that God taught me as I studied and explored and interacted with Matthew 19:26 in its context and my response to it (maybe I’ll make that a separate post), but it was deeply healing for me. I know that God will do the same for you in the parts of Scripture that you want to ignore and push away.
What parts of the Bible do you have an inner fence set up against? What passages make you cringe or roll your eyes? Which verses are tied to trauma for you?
The next time you feel part of you push Scripture away in fear, anger or pain, pay attention to that feeling. Talk to God about it. Explore the Scripture and your response, and enjoy the healing work God does in you.
Jesus, thank you for allowing us to be honest with you when we don’t like how your words make us feel. Holy Spirit please remind us to pay attention in those moments and choose to learn the truth about our Father and ourselves through our negative responses. Father, please heal us from everything that keeps us apart from you. In Jesus name, Amen.