Reading Scripture to Know Jesus
I chose Robby the Robot. It was the children’s bible-study award night at church. As an eight-year-old, I received the most points for inviting people to church, memorizing scripture, and participating in activities. The accomplishment made me ecstatic. From the word "go" of the competition, I was driven to complete each task. Family would often see me wandering around the house, saying the verses aloud, and having others quiz me. When the day came to choose an award, toys were spread out across tables, and I was the first in line to pick my prizes. Robby was an inflatable robot that sat on a wheeled platform, complete with remote control. While flimsy and temporary, he lasted far longer than anyone expected. But you know what didn’t? My memory of Bible verses.
Almost forty years later, I can’t tell you a single verse I memorized. At the young age of eight I had memorized scripture with the express purpose of garnering the prize, not a deeper relationship with Jesus. As soon as I moved on to the next interest in my life, scripture held no sway in my decision-making, and eventually I abandoned reading and memorizing scripture.
When the time was ripe, a single scripture, Hebrews 11:1, opened my soul to my need for the Savior. "Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see." For the last twenty-five years scripture has been a pillar—alongside prayer, fellowship, and witnessing—that stabilizes my faith. God’s Word educates me, challenges my sinful patterns, and aids me to stand firm when trouble comes.
Jesus set the example of how important scripture is as I face trials. He quoted the Old Testament prophets to establish his authority. He stood firm as Satan tried to tempt Him when he spent forty days fasting in the desert (Matthew 4). Finally, I have come to the place where scripture is interwoven into my daily living. It never ceases to amaze me how scripture continues to unfold in my life.
Recently my family visited the beach, and I rose early to see the sunrise. Each time the pink edges of light peeked over the horizon of the ocean, it caused the clouds and water to catch fire. I was in awe at the power and beauty in each sunrise. It was on one such morning that a friend called as I was admiring the sunrise. You see, I’m memorizing all of Romans 8 with this friend, and she called me for our weekly review. She too had visited the coast, and so we compared our experiences. Specifically she pointed out the verse that talks about creation being subjected to frustration.
“For the creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed. For the
creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who
subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay, and
brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God.” (Romans 8:19-21, NIV).
“Creation is still beautiful,” she said.
God desires my heart to turn toward loving the created world and those who live here. God could have turned our world into an ugly mess, reflecting the brokenness that seems to be all over the daily news. Some days it seems very similar to the abused planets and evil dwellers in the Marvel movie multiverse. Instead, the Creator continues to seek to redeem creation, and wows me with beautiful sunrises and other notable vistas. This helps me because I tend to dwell on the frustration part and not the hope named in Romans 8:20. My friend’s insight into the scripture helped me see more clearly that frustration has a purpose—to deliver me from the things that hurt me, and to bring me closer to God.