I had endeavoured to read Genesis, and when I finished reading it, I felt like my relationship with God had changed. What a way to start a book that records the initial dealings between God and man, and details the saving of a world lost beyond hope! I’ve never read the Bible as a story before, at least not without stopping and taking every verse in as something that needs to be studied and examined in detail, rather than soaked in and impressed on my soul. But it’s amazing how you can view things differently when you’re restricted to doing something in the spare moments you can grab in life.
I’m not sure how many times I’ve read this book, but when I was forced to read it as a story in one continuous flow, my mind was more able to take in the characters and my heart responded with joy because I felt like I was being whipped into the storyline. I could see more clearly the flaws in each character, and the way God loved them and led them nonetheless. Yet they stood in stark contrast to the people around them who disregarded God as the powerful Almighty – God accredited them their faith and their righteousness, even though every single one of the men He had chosen made mistakes along the way.
What set them apart was their devotion to God; a single choice, yet one that was to take them on a journey that would last a lifetime. Just like Jacob only committed to ‘belonging’ to God when he was on the run from home after stealing Esau’s blessing. After encountering God in a dream, he makes this remarkable exclamation: “If God is with me and protects me on this journey I am taking and gives me food to eat and clothing to wear, and I return safely to my father’s home, then the LORD will become my God.” (Genesis 28:21-22). He says it as if he had not yet made that commitment, and even though it takes him at least 14 years to return to his father’s land, he puts his trust in God and God walks with him and makes something great out of the man who stole from his brother and deceived his father.
Within my own life there are constant reminders that my relationship with God desires such trust and commitment. I’ve started reading a daily devotional and keeping a prayer journal, and little things are beginning to stand out to me. Like a few days ago, when Jack’s outstanding holiday money came through from his previous job. Just when our account was running dry! Or the way I am being placed in situations that test my patience and challenge my creativity, but grow my relationships and confidence with those around me. A prayer come to life.
Not even half a year ago, I had issues with prayer and worship. They were projections of the scars I have sustained, and they sucked the joy out of my Christian identity. Today, I can finally pray again without fear. I come daily before God a sinner, because I desire to be cleansed, and because I yearn to be alive in spirit. And that is all it takes.
For what does the scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.” – Romans 4:3