Last week, as I was pondering and praying over the direction that our future visits should take, I heard the Lord speak to me, saying quite clearly: “It is time to rock and roll, little girl. This is not the time to be timid and pull back (which, as a marshmallow, is something that I tend to do)—this is the time to rock and roll!” And, with that, I knew just what He wanted me to do. This was His way of telling me that the time had come for me to get down to the business that He has called me to, which is not only teaching people what the Bible has to say, but also teaching them some new ways of approaching its study–so that they can better make sense of it on their own.
Just in case you may be thinking that God wouldn’t speak to anyone in quite this way, let me assure that He has no problem in using any language whatsoever, if it gets His point across to those whose ears are attuned to His voice. In fact, what He said to me last week was really nothing more than a modernized version of what He told the prophet Jeremiah over twenty-five hundred years ago, when He said…
But you, dress yourself for work; arise, and say to them everything that I command you. Do not be dismayed by them, lest I dismay you before them. (Jer. 1:17)
Work in this case for both Jeremiah and for me, was and is giving out the Word of God to people, whether or not they want to hear it–and it is something that I have been preparing or “dressing myself for” for over forty years.
Although I was saved at the relatively young age of eight, my real preparation for all of this rocking and rolling did not begin until much later, when I was about the age of twenty-two. This was a pivotal time in my life when, stuck in the middle of a disastrous marriage, I rededicated my life to the Lord. It wasn’t long after making this decision that, in the interest of our personal safety, it became necessary for me to take my two young sons and leave my alcoholic husband and begin a new life on our own—a life which soon turned into an odyssey of faith from which I have yet to recover.
My training for this new life began quickly and simply–it started with me having nothing but God and His Word to rely on. When I left my husband, I had no job, no car, and no health insurance; just two little boys, our clothes, $200.00 in cash, and my sewing machine. For the first year, we were fortunate enough to be able to stay with my parents but after that, we were completely on our own. In hindsight, I now clearly see that God had planned out a comprehensive spiritual training program for me designed to accomplish the following…
- Teach me to hear His voice and to trust in His Word;
- Teach me how to study the Word and to see the Big Story that it presented;
- Teach me how to present and share what I had learned with others; and,
- Teach me to not fear anyone or anything other than the Lord.
Of course, time and space will not allow me to go into detail about all of my experiences, so let’s just suffice it to say that:
To teach me to hear His voice and to trust His Word, the Lord impressed upon me from the very beginning that I was not to make anyone else aware of my needs, or to ask anyone other than Him for help. Once I brought my needs to Him, He would present me with some relevant promises from His Word and then dare me to act upon them. In response to those challenges, some of the things that I was required to do were…
- to ask and believe for a car when I had no money, and later, to drive that car for a week with no gas;
- to plan and take trips with no money; to trust God to pay all of my hospital and doctor bills with no insurance;
- to trust God to provide places for us to live as well as ways to pay for them; and,
- even when little things like loaves of bread or spools of thread were needed, to ask God for them and then wait on Him to provide them.
In every circumstance and situation of life, I found myself being tested and stretched beyond anything I had previously thought possible—and yet, all of this was just preparation for the next level of His training.
To get me to the next level, the one involving teaching me how to study His Word, the Lord did two things…
- First, He sent me to one of the most academically challenging schools in our state—a place where He knew I would have to learn to study and do research in order to survive.
- Then He set me aside for almost a year of intense personal Bible study and prayer. It was during this time that He presented me with a new way (new at least to me) of understanding the Bible–an approach which very quickly became the foundation upon which all my future studies would be based.
Once this foundation was in place, I was able to start building upon it and to continue adding to it through many more years of additional study. Then, some years later, to enable me to better my presentation of the material I was putting together, the Lord opened up a new position for me at work—one requiring me to use the computer. As I explained in My Journey to the Land of Blog, even though I didn’t know how to turn a computer on and off, I began taking the computer courses being offered by my employer and it wasn’t long before I was using what I had learned to organize and prepare the materials for my Bible studies.
Finally, and probably the most harrowing part of all this, has been my training in learning to not be afraid of anyone or anything other than the Lord. As an introverted, fearful, and naturally reticent person, I have, throughout my life, tried to avoid speaking in front of groups of people. However, over the course of these many years, the Lord has continued to put me into those kinds of situations just so I could learn to overcome my fears. And on quite a few occasions, He has required me to confront people and situations that I would have otherwise preferred to avoid, just so I could learn to “woman up” and not let anyone intimidate me.
Why am I sharing all of this with you now? Well, it’s to let you know where I have come from, so that you will be able to more fully appreciate and participate in where I believe the Lord is taking us next. For what I would like to do in our upcoming visits is to move us both into a new season of rocking and rolling—that is, a new season of Bible study. In order to do this, I am proposing that we…
- Look into Salvation and learn why it is necessary;
- Look at the New Birth and learn how we can obtain it;
- Learn how to prepare for Bible study by…
– Understanding what the Bible is and what it isn’t;
– Recognizing the baggage that we each bring to its study;
– Acknowledging the parameters to what we can know; and,
– Being open to learning new ways of looking at the Bible;
- And finally, launch into a study of the Bible, presented as The One Big Story that God Wants Everyone to Know.
I don’t know about you, but I am excited at the prospect of this, and can only hope that you will want to join me as we launch out into the deep–that is, a deeper study of the Word of God. If so, then let’s get going!
Citizen Way rocks out for us in “Where Would I Be Without You?”