The Study With Friends community includes a team of bloggers who bless us with authentic and honest musings about how their faith informs their life, and how life informs their faith. These blogs offer insights and advice from the heart. They are experiential. For instructional insights, visit our bible study page.
I was feeling discouraged about a Bible Study that a friend and I had started for a group of friends. This special group consisted of ladies from our social circle who were from diverse religious backgrounds. Some had never gone to church regularly, and others were from different denominations. They all had something in common: questions about God, the Bible, and religion.
Being rooted in Christ for me at least in part means that I need to get on my knees and dig around in the dirt of my life with Him. I can be honest with the Lord. I don’t have to pretty things up. I have to recognize the weeds of pride, unbelief, bitterness, and unforgiveness, and at the same time open my eyes to the blooming of His goodness and faithfulness in the midst of the messiness of life. In this way my roots go deep into Him and I am built up and strengthened in my faith.
When I was a teen, my mother was my best friend. Mom was a stay-at-home mother, as were most mothers in those days. I would come home from school and she was always there to greet me. After working on my homework, I would sit by the stove while she prepared dinner (in those days, moms did that too). We would chat. I could tell her about almost anything and she usually had some wise advice. I clearly remember telling her about some boy I had a crush on, who didn’t know I existed. Her advice? “Marilyn, boys are like street cars. If you miss one, another one will come along.” I can’t remember who the boy was, but I do remember Mom’s wise counsel.
Sometimes in life you just end up in a “cruise control” phase: nothing huge going on, just kind of taking things day by day and dealing with the “usual” family issues. Then you hit into a massive construction site called “my husband has cancer” and the wheel starts spinning right through your hands while you desperately try to grab a hold of it before you completely crash.
While God’s act of justification in our life is immediate, our walk in this new relationship with God is painstakingly slow and imperfect! As Paul says, “the very thing I want to do (and know that I should do) I cannot do, and the very thing that I don’t want to do (and know that I should not do) is what I do! [Romans 7:15-20] I can just see Paul holding his head in his hands, pathetically bemoaning his human limitations.
Recently I attempted to complete a simple puzzle with my grandson Kaleb, who is three. In my way of thinking, the way the twenty-four pieces were cut gave little clue as to where they should be placed. I studied an oddly-shaped piece with blue, black, and a splash of orange in the corner, wondering what it was and where it should go.
Just like Peninnah, I too, have felt disregarded and inadequate, and if I allowed him, the devil would still be feeding me those lies. I’ve also reacted to this pain in ways that didn’t serve Christ or me. Thankfully, I came to know a living God who set me free from destructive thoughts and paths, and set my feet on solid ground.