1 Kings 19:12 “…the Lord was…a still small voice.”
I began to read the bible every day, trying to study it thoroughly. Let me remind you of how much I hated school with a capital H. So I never developed good study habits, and this was no exception.
I’d love to be the kind of super spiritual holy woman that could read the bible in one week. I’d like to be the kind of woman who can comprehend the ancient text with laser-like focus. I’d love for the Pope or Billy Graham to call me up and congratulate my excellent bible reading skills. I’d love for all the words of Jesus, the ultimate chilled out dude, to make total sense the first go ‘round.
The truth is there were nights when I was reading this stuff that I’d fall asleep mid-sentence. So I would try again the next afternoon, only to get so sleepy I’d have to take a quick power nap and then get back to work. I thought for sure I was ticking off God by not being able to stay awake and focused. I wondered what the heavenly punishment was for nodding off in God’s class.
Then one day I was online and pulled up the chilled out televangelist with his own hair, the one who taught me about hardened hearts. It was my lucky day. I found I could pull any of his shows from the last decade to watch. I selected one and he started talking about reading the bible and how he would read like four to eight chapters a day.
Let’s pause for moment. Four to eight chapters a day, are you kidding me? I laughed out loud. I was lucky to make it to chapter number two before the Sandman arrived.
Back to the story: one day he felt the little voice tell him to slow down and meditate on one or two verses instead of treating the study of the bible like it’s the Indy 500.
Two things occurred to me when I heard that. First, I am definitely not the only one to hear the little voice and that made me feel good. If I was crazy then I was in good company.
Second, I had been reading and reading and reading for weeks and couldn’t remember squat. Meditating on just a couple verses at a time felt like a good deal in comparison.
Maybe I too should just pick a couple verses and meditate on them. So I picked Matthew 6:16-18 since it dealt specifically with fasting. Jesus taught about, saying:
“And when you fast, don’t make it obvious, as the hypocrites do, for they try to look miserable and disheveled so people will admire them for their fasting. I tell you the truth, that is the only reward they will ever get. But when you fast, comb your hair and wash your face, then no one will notice that you are fasting, except your Father, who knows what you do in private. And your Father, who sees everything, will reward you.” (New Living Translation)
And I learned…a lot! I realized there were some ground rules to fasting, such not advertising to the world when you fast. If I went around moping at missing out on pasta and acting like a two year old because of my low blood sugar then it totally voided the fast.
I also learned that Jesus hates the ‘I’m-holier-than-you-because-I-fast’ mentality that can happen in some people.
All this new knowledge was beginning to energize me. I began to seriously dig into the bible, mining out little tidbits and meditating on them. I’ll never be a theological student, but I was seeing more truths every time I opened the scriptures than ever before in my life.