I find some of the stories in the Bible so disturbing. Is it bad for my faith to question them?

There’s something about the Bible. It is capable of evoking joy in those that choose to believe it or it evokes anger in those that choose to discredit it. Oftentimes, it can evoke anger and joy in those who believe it too. Most of us modern day thinkers find many chapters (or the entire thing) in the Old Testament too terrible to comprehend. Much of the old testament speaks of brutal war, murder, rape, plagues, sin and sorrow. The Israelites were themselves brutal in their conquering of their enemies as they took hold promised land. In Deuteronomy 3:6-7 Moses, the author of the book, puts it bluntly: ‘We destroyed all the people in every town we conquered – men, women and children alike. But we kept all the livestocks for ourselves and took plunder from all the towns’.  In my opinion that is horrific, barbaric, and wrong! I am forced to ask ‘what kind of God could do that?’ And, if I take this further, I must consider if a God like that is really God at all because shouldn’t God be all about loving thy neighbor?

Somewhere along my journey of faith, perhaps when I heard Pastor Rick Warren of Saddleback Church in the United States say that it is ok to have doubts, I came to realize that it is good to have questions too. In fact, more than that, it is essential to have questions, to mediate and think about God and what all of this means. Questions and doubt are not something to fear or to feel guilty about. It is part of who we are and how God made us. The intelligence he gave us is to, first and foremost, think.  And in our thinking and questioning we should not feel the need to hide from our christian friends, pastors, leader and churches. They too should not shy away from the deep questions we ask for there is opportunity for everyone to grow in faith and knowledge. Questioning God isn’t an act of doubt, it is an act of belief! If there was no belief, or no desire to believe, why bother questioning? There would simply be no reason to. It would be a waste of our precious time. To question then, is to desire understanding and meaning. Nothing wrong with that! 

So how then do you and I read the Bible? How do we continue in relationship with God when there is so much we don’t get and empathize with in the book? I suppose we need a little bit of faith, even just a tiny bit, to begin. Faith is that thing we can’t see but might be able to feel in our hearts but is also something we choose to have. It’s like saying ‘I don’t know about that but I’m going to trust that one day I will and that it will be good for me’. ‘But how do I even get to have faith, I don’t even know where to begin?’ 

Faith is found, seeded, and grown in hope. Hope comes from trusting a God who promises life and blessings to those who believe in him. We hope that the good stuff in the bible is true, we trust that it is. Trust is made manifest in the questions, trials, tribulations, joy and goodness that can be found in relationship with God (all those times we can see that God worked the good into our lives). Trust grows over time and relationship with God comes from time spent together with him. That’s time spent in thought, prayer and reading his word (and other writings that encourage you). Time given to thinking though God’s purposes and meanings. Wrestling over the purpose, meaning, and character of a God who stood by as the Israelites slaughtered thousands, means that you haven’t given up, you haven’t lost faith in God, it means that you desire peace in your heart over something that doesn’t sit right. And it doesn’t. I admit it. The slaughter of children never sits right. But then I wonder, why doesn’t it sit right? It seems like many ancient cultures killed children in war. In fact, many ancient cultures sacrificed their own children to gods (Deuteronomy 12:31b). Is there a difference in how we see children, or how we value life now in comparison to then? Yes. There is. Obviously.  

The reaction of many of governments around the world to bring their nation’s economy to a standstill in favor of protecting it’s citizens during this Covid-19 pandemic reveals something striking: life is valued. It is valued more than the billions of dollars lost. It is valued more than winning the next election. A world at standstill, in lockdown, in isolation to save the lives of people indicates more than strongly that we are valued. I am valued. You are valued. It seems that governments are acting in good faith that there is no financial loss that could be considered worse than losing one life in this pandemic. In Australia, where I live, to date, 97 people have died. The dollars spent to protect them – it’s not countable. So what happened? How is it that we read the Old Testament with such disdain, disgust and interrogation when ancient cultures and it’s celebrities, including King David (the most celebrated Israelite (human) king), read it with acceptance and understanding? They even agreed with it! So, what changed us? The life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ did. It was he who offered a profoundly different way of thinking and living. In doing this, he also brought about a different way of relating to God. 

When Jesus was ministering in Israel, the nation was under the command of the Roman Empire. The Roman Empire, famous to many of us now for it’s architecture and Gladiators, waged war for centuries with millions of people across land and sea. It was also a people who, if a baby was not wanted, it was put into the street to be ‘exposed’ to the elements so that it would die. Children were not valued anywhere. Was it shocking for people to witness Jesus reprimanding his disciples for attempting to stop children approaching him? And when Jesus placed his hands on the children’s heads and blessed them saying ‘Let the Children come…For the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to those who are like these children’ (Matthew 19:14), doesn’t this infer that Jesus placed value and equality of the lives of children, on all of us? Similarly, when Jesus spoke to the Samaritan woman (Samaritans were despised by the Jewish people), and at such length, he broke all social custom and treated her as equal. Most distinctly, when he commanded that we should love our neighbor (Mark 12:31) he said something that no one before him had done. The act of loving our neighbor as ourselves makes us equal in ways that the Old Testament did not do. It is this, this idea, that our western civilization, our world has profited from. For now, in our hearts, we abhor murder, rape, war, and all evil treatment to our neighbors and children alike. We are a changed civilization. Our perspective has been altered and it is for this reason that we have difficulty reading, understanding, and empathizing with parts of the Old Testament. But that’s a good thing! We are not meant to empathize, how could we, we view things in the light of Christ. We’re the lucky ones. We have an enormous benefit of seeing the story played out in God’s word. The ancient Israelites did not, they only knew the beginning of the story. For that’s what the Bible is, it is a story, it is history, as in HIS story, describing how God plans to bless all nations through the birth, death, and resurrection of his Son.

Depending on where we fit in story, in that timeline, we will all view things differently and have many different and similar questions. The more I read the Bible, the more I can see one thing in particular common to all peoples at all times: God is there and waiting to be found by those who seek him. So ask, think, ponder, doubt, talk to others, and even celebrate about what you think it all means. Thinking, meditating, questioning and seeking is a privilege – a God given one. What question is on your mind? 

Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.

Matthew 6:33 NLT

The Israelites in their wilderness saw God, they saw his incredible miracles and they still doubted. I don’t see God, is he talking to me at all?

Three weeks ago I began reading the books of Exodus and Deuteronomy. Aside from skimming over the details for the building and presentation of the Arc of the Covenant and the Tabernacle, I read it as closely as I could. I underlined, I made notes, I asked questions, and I discussed it with a person who knows the scriptures better than most (my mother). I wasn’t surprised by the violence; ancient cultures are known to have been barbaric. The strangeness of the plagues God used to expel his people from Egypt didn’t astonish me for I have known this story since childhood however, I found myself in awe of the constant complaints and failure of the Israelites. I came to understand that Exodus and Deuteronomy are not only about how God rescued his people from slavery, it is a record of how the Israelites kept getting it wrong. And in their failure, this record stands as example of God’s perfect and loving grace. 

I was dumbstruck to learn that within days of fleeing Egypt many Israelites (or Hebrews as they were known as at the time) doubt God’s deliverance and wish to return to slavery for ‘its better to be a slave in Egypt than a corpse in the wilderness’ (Ex 14:12). I could not believe that even after they witness the extraordinary parting of the red sea, experience God providing care, food and water for them in the wilderness, and seeing God’s daily guidance and protection manifest in a pillar of cloud in the day and a pillar of fire at night, they still doubt! Can you believe that before the first year is out they even take their jewelry and form a carved idol, which they then celebrate with a big party declaring that idol to be the god who brought them out of Egypt? (Ex 32:1-8) How did these people forget him so quickly? Did they have amnesia? 

In 2020, thousands of years after these events, it’s easy to judge the Israelites. They had physical proof that God was with them! They witnessed miracle after miracle! They were guided daily by God who even went ahead of them and chose the best campsites for them to dwell in (Duet 1: 32-33), but they still didn’t trust the Lord God! And here we are in May 2020 never having seen, or likely to ever see, anything remotely like this, yet we are still asked to put our trust in him? They had it so easy! So much easier than us. God appeared to them, time and time again, but there are probably millions of Christians today who don’t even believe that God has ever, or will ever, communicate with him. To him, he’s a distant God, not an interventional God, but one still worth believing him. When comparing us to the Israelites at the time of the Exodus with a God that so obviously showed up, it is difficult to comprehend their mistrust of him. Worse, when God after a short time takes them to the Promised Land and tells them to enter it, they refuse in fear. They still do not trust him. Their failure in this resulted in another forty years in the wilderness!

I wonder, what would my belief have looked like if I was among the Israelites? Would I have given my jewelry to be melted down and made into an idol? Would I have failed at the tests God gave them? Tests that God had already provided the answer for? What about you? Do you think you would have trusted him? When overlooking for the first time the land that God had promised to give them, all they had to do was enter and take it, instead they let their own fear and worry consume them. By not trusting and obeying God, they missed the blessings he had prepared for them and they were ordered back into the desert to learn again what God had already taught them – ‘Trust me and I will provide for you’.

Covid-19 and the enforced isolation that comes with it, feels (and looks) like a wilderness. It is unknown, it is mundane, it is a place a fear and loneliness, it is something all of us wish to turn away from. But I must wonder are God’s blessings, his provision and his very presence in this Coronavirus desert too? This may be a time of unprecedented change, worry, sickness and grief (don’t forget boredom too) but it can also be a time of trust, peace, faith and understanding. We may not have pillars of clouds or fire to guide us but God has already provided guidance for us in his word. 

The bible isn’t a book about God’s commands, punishment and law, it’s a book expressing God’s grace and unfailing love to a people who continually failed him. It’s a book that can be a light upon our path as we walk through these days. It is a book with a personal message of hope for you and I, if we decide to take the time to read it. The more I read it, the more I can see that God’s plan was, and will always be, good for those who put their trust in him. What will you discover?

 The wilderness the Israelites experienced destroyed many of them. My prayer for you and I is that this wilderness called Covid-19 and all the stress and discomfort it brings will not be a time of failure to trust, or a failure to hope or a lack of wanting to seek God, but rather a time of growth and blessing as we search for and rest in his comfort and guidance…as we seek him – the God who wants us to remember the miracles he did to rescue his people, knowing that one day when our time to be on this earth would come about that we would be blessed by what he did then.  I wonder, was King David thinking of the Exodus when he wrote Psalm 25:6 ‘Remember O Lord, your compassion and unfailing love, which you have shown from ages past.’ His love, the same love that dragged a stubborn people out of slavery so that he could honor his promise and bless them, is the love that God still has for his people, all people today.  Just now to trust him. 

“Remember how the Lord your God led you through the wilderness for these forty years humbling you and testing you to prove your character, and to find out whether or not you would obey his commands…He did it to teach you that people do not live by bread alone; rather, we live by every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord” 

Deuteronomy 8:2-7 NLT

Is the rising panic I feel in my chest anxiety, or could it be the virus? I’m so worried…the entire world is worried. What should I as a christian be thinking?

The Lord is my shepherd. Psalm 23

As if the fear, paranoia, and anxiety surrounding catching the Coronavirus is not enough, today thousands, if not millions, of people face unemployment, piling bills, and rising mortgage pressure. How are we to get through this? People around the world are likely to be thinking ‘Is the rising panic I feel in my chest anxiety, or could it be the virus?’ Worry, paranoia, fear, sickness, and superstition threaten to derail humanity. What should we as Christians be doing? What should we be thinking? Some of us may be questioning the strength of our own faith and wondering how to appear strong for family and friends?’ 

Today, you and I have some decisions to make. We can give in to worry. We can give in to fear. We can continue to obsess over the news and the latest Covid-19 figures from around the world. We can allow yourselves to be lost in Facebook or momentarily entertained by celebrities on social media or you and I can take pause to seek what it is that God is wanting to say to us in this moment.  There is opportunity for us here in this deeply uncertain time, to claim the very certainly that God offers. One day soon this virus will be beaten, one day soon we will all go back to work, and one day soon we will be able to buy more toilet rolls. However, if and I you don’t listen, if you and I don’t seek, if you and I don’t desire, we will miss what God wants us to feel, to learn and do right now. It’s up to you. It’s up to me. God’s promises to those who trust in him are abundant in his word.

Let’s look at Psalm 23, ‘The Lord is my shepherd, I have all that I need…’ This is one of the most well-known and quoted chapters of the bible. It is often read aloud at funerals and memorial services. Because of this, we associate the verses with a type of solemnity. Heads bow and listeners wait for the reading to be over as it sounds almost like a religious rite. Often the Psalm seems to be the most appropriate thing to say during such grief when nothing seems to makes sense. However, the darkest valley, or the shadow of death, makes up only 1/6 of the chapter! The rest of the chapter is teeming with life and promises. It also describes a God who is committed to tending his people. 

God as the shepherd.  A shepherd devotes themselves to looking after his ‘flock’. In this case his flock are his believers, the people who decide to follow him. God as the shepherd also provides for all your needs, gives you rest when you need it and leads lead you into nourishing places. And, as you bring honor to his name, he will guide you along the right path. The promises continue: He comforts you in mourning and dark places, he is your safety and protection, walking beside you and longing for you to ‘cast your fear on him’, all the while urging you on to righteousness. He also even prepares a wonderful and edifying feast for you in the presence of your enemies, when things are desperately awful. He honors your faithfulness, and blesses you abundantly.  It is certain that his goodness and unfailing love will pour out on you for all the days of your life. That’s what the Psalm says. It is a chapter of the bible with profound sentiment for all the days of your life, not just the valleys. Though it is the valley where we feel and cry out for him the most.  And it is obvious that right now, the entire world is in a valley. Can we turn ourselves to God? Can you and I find him in his word? If this Psalm can say so much, what else can be found in his word? 

Is there something that God wants to say to you, to me today? As the world reels from the shock, death, and economic disaster that is Covid-19, is there something that God wants you and I to learn, to do, in this moment? How do you think God wants you to feel as the entire world shakes in fear? Should us christians be afraid, irritated, angry, worried? Or should we be calm, rational and unafraid? Should we feel protected as the Pslam indicates? And could we feel, dare I say it, joyful? The shepherd offers such things, if we want them.

In the Old Testament book of 1 Kings, chapter 19 describes an encounter the prophet Elijah had  with the living God. First the Lord passes by him and a mighty windstorm hits the mountain Elijah was standing on. After the wind there was an earthquake, then there was a fire but the Lord God was not in any of these things. Rather, after the fire there was the sound of a gentle whisper. Here, here was the Lord, and speaking gently with him. In all the noise of today, God’s whisper is there. Add to that, we have the Bible where he makes his character, his plan and his promises made known to us daily, fresh every morning…just now to read it. But it’s hard, I know. 

During this pandemic, I have been encouraged by reading the Bible daily in many ways. And as I have been encouraged, I began this blog to be an encouragement to you. I know the website is very basic. I am an amateur in this. This is my fourth post! Thank you to those people who have read it, I really hope that it is providing reason and inspiration to your own thoughts. If you like what I’m doing, and where I’m going then please follow along. After I learn a little about website design, I hope to have a fancy page for you with other sources of biblical knowledge and inspiration and a section for comments and interaction but for now, this will have to do. Again, please know that I’m not a theologian, I’m not an expert, I am just an average person trying to make sense in all of this just like you. My prayer for you is that God provides you with peace and understanding as you seek him in his word. #bethelight

Surely a God, if there was one, would not allow this Coronavirus to happen. Why doesn’t he put an end to it?

Your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven…

Daily, the global news about COVID-19 gets worse. More infections, more death, more isolations, more panic, and more unemployment. With so much uncertainty, it’s hard not let anxiety grip us. The fear of the unknown is a real threat to the erosion of our society and our very own character.  How could God do this to us? Are we being punished? Why is God so unfair? Why would he want this to happen? Does God care about me, doesn’t he know that I can’t afford a Global meltdown right now? For it sure looks like it is that.  Could you ever have imagined the day that countries would close their borders to tourists, to everyone? Could you ever have imagined seeing an elderly couple standing bewildered in the grocery store wondering what happened to all the toilet paper? Worse, no one wants to give them any of theirs? Where is God in this? 

When Jesus suggested how we should pray, one of his sentiments provides a huge clue as to why any bad thing happens on earth. ‘Your kingdom come, Your will be done on earth as it is heaven’ (Matthew 6:9-13). God’s will then (when humans are involved), is not done on earth.  Most of the Bible is a compilation of stories about how people fail to do what he wants. Right from the beginning of the Bible when Adam and Eve eat the forbidden fruit, and all the way to the end, where in the Book of Revelations it describes people even coming out to fight the Living God in the clouds, people aren’t doing God’s will. Our entire history is lived in the wrong. We do the wrong thing to people and they do the wrong thing to us because in God’s good creation (his words), he gave us the one thing that has the potential to be a blessing to the planet and his people or to be a curse to it; God gave us free will.  (And then he had a book written to show us many examples of how it hasn’t been used wisely.) 

God didn’t create COVID-19, humans did! By circumstance or design, it doesn’t really matter for the sake of this argument, human interaction and international travel means that we now have a global pandemic that threatens all of us. Could God make this virus go away tomorrow? Heck, yes! But when God willed Christ to come to earth and suffer horrendously while he was here for the purpose of our salvation by God’s grace, he also made a man perfect in his eyes. Christ embodied the perfect will and character of God and in doing so he provided the example of person, of character that we should be. God could take this virus away immediately however, when he’s asked to clean up our human messes, he also provides an opportunity for us to grow in him. God’s more interested in how we react, in how we decide to trust him, and in how we set about serving others, than simply providing a quick fix. Why would God allow such pain and misery, how could he be so cruel just to ‘test us’? 

The greatest example and testimony of God’s will being done on earth is in the death and resurrection of his son, Jesus. This event changed, for the good, the entire course of history! One practical and very relevant example of this is in the early christian’s decision to exercise Christ’s command to ‘love one another’. In the great (flu-like) plague of Rome (250-270AD), it was the christians who went to the sick, feeding, housing and nursing them, knowing full well they were risking their own lives. But still they went: God cares for all lives. This action led to many, many converts and paved the way for the idea of the hospital. (If you want to read more about that, read Rodney Starks, The Triumph of Christianity) 

God never made the promise that you, or anyone else on the entire planet, would live a a problem free existence. In fact his word says the opposite. It states that you will have trials in life, that you will suffer heartbreak but the good news is that God promises he will bring good out of all things to those people that love him. Not everyone, but to those who love and trust him (Romans 8:28). God didn’t will this Coronavirus to happen but he knew it would. He also knows how he is going to help you through it. For it is in our grief and dark moments that God’s grace and promises can be made known. I think that when most people cry out and seek God is when they are in trouble, rather than when they are happy and content. Focus then on what God considers to be good and noble, not on what social media or the news says. Seek him first and all these things (peace and understanding) will be given to you. This is what he promises. This is the good news we need to be reading everyday.

As the world panics around us, may we as Christians be steadfast, loving and generous. What then, could come from our choices to shine our lights and be the love that Christ and God wills for us? God is with us, now and tomorrow as we walk through the valley of the shadow of death.  Because,  that’s what this is. As the world cries out in grief and mourning, may we seek him and may he be found by us. Then, through our tears and confusion we will feel his guiding peace and love. That’s what he wills for us, to know him and trust him daily. 

I am well aware that this is a brief discussion about a vast topic of God’s sovereignty that gives cause and reason for our human identity and condition, however, my purpose here is to encourage and inspire you to think more of it. God loves questions and is not at all afraid of your anger or your doubts. It’s better to doubt than not to think about things at all. 

Is it just me or does isolation feel like a wilderness?

I wanted to start this blog off with a brief look at The Lords Prayer (what a better way to start, right?) however, I feel that Exodus 16 is just as good a place as any.  

Give us today our Daily Bread

Just four weeks after God rescues the Israelites from slavery in Egypt by a series of miracles, including separating the waters of the Red Sea so that they could walk through on dry land, the Israelites are disturbed to find themselves in the wilderness. They don’t like their situation at all and complain to Moses and Aaron about it (Moses being the guy who God appointed to lead them out of Egypt, and Aaron his right hand man). In their opinion it would have been better for God to have killed them in Egypt than be out here in the wilderness. There in Egypt, they had pantries full of food and could eat all the meat and bread they wanted. Here, they are in fear of starvation: ‘How could Moses (and ultimately God) do this to us!’ (Exodus 16:3)

Hearing the people’s complaints against him, God tells moses that he will rain food down from heaven. He says that in the evening they will have meat to eat and in the morning they will have all the bread they want. In doing this God’s intention is clearly stated, ‘Then you will know that I am the Lord your God.’ 

Exodus 16:13-14 says ‘that evening vast numbers of quail covered the camp’ (the meat) and the next morning an edible flaky substance as fine as frost covered the ground. The Israelites called this Manna (literally meaning ‘what is this?). It tasted like honey wafers and they were able to bake with it.  In the middle of nowhere, in times unprecedented to them, as they wandered and wondered what all of this could mean, God provided for them. 

I find it remarkable that even though they had just witnessed (and forgotten) God’s miracles in their escape from Egypt, and had been reassured that he had heard their cries of oppression as he remembered his Covenant promise to their forefather Abraham (another story that sets in motion how God sets apart the Israelites to be his people), the Israelites still needed a daily reminder that He remains their God. Daily, they failed to trust him and daily, he reminded them of his power and grace. By taking them into the wilderness he saved their lives and there he waited and watched for them to grow in trust toward him. He didn’t want them to to just enter the promised land and then forget about him (like he knew they would). He wanted their hearts and minds set on him, no matter the frightening wasteland they found themselves in.

In answering their complaints, God’s grace and compassion towards them meant that every morning the Israelites woke up to an encounter with God. He was there. The Manna on the ground wasn’t just food, it was a daily reminder, a daily encounter, a daily miracle so they would know that he is their God and He is with them always. Should we then, expect that as we pray for our Daily Bread, that we should be expecting an encounter with God? Yes! I wonder, is that what Jesus meant in The Lords Prayer, that we pray for God to show himself to us every day, that he in fact is the Daily Bread? Of course Jesus said something that strongly hints to this, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God’ (Matthew 4:4 – and Jesus got this from Deuteronomy 8:3) 

I don’t know what you personally are going through. I do not know what lies ahead of you, what lies ahead of all us. But I do know and believe this: God is in this moment. He is here and he promises to meet the needs of all those who trust in him.  And in this moment, He wants to show himself to you, to reveal more of his love for you. In calling you to trust him during the darkest time our generation is yet to know, he desires for you to feel peace and to be hopeful.  In providing daily for us, and as we encounter him and his great works daily, he wants us to not be afraid, to not worry but to give thanks for what has has already done, and what he will do for us. Then, when we can do that, we can be the light of hope for our families and communities. #bethelight

Coronavirus inspired me to read The Bible (and to make this blog).

In March 2020 the novel virus, Coronavirus Sers Covid-19, changed the world. Countries around the world closed their borders, stopped working, and sent their people into isolation to deter the spread of the potentially deadly virus. As the virus took hold, thousands of people lost their lives and hundreds and thousands more were sick. Economies were at a standstill. 

On March 16 my husband, John, returned to Australia from a five day trip to Los Angeles.  That day, any arriving passenger from overseas was ordered to remain at home in quarantine for two weeks. Arriving home, John coughed a little and felt rundown. Four days later I had a headache. John was declared Covid-19 positive on the 23rd of March. My results came back positive on the 28th. Rough days. 

I began writing this blog, my Counter Covid-19 attempt to Be the Light to a worried and isolated at the beginning of March when the news of virus was spreading faster than the virus itself (at least in Australia). I managed to write four posts before I no longer felt well enough to read or write.  It was a long sickness and it has been a long recovery process. I had a slight cough that I could not shake. Finally on the 4th April both the Public Health department and NSW Health declared me officially recovered. I’m a Covid survivor. I had no previous illness or concerns and this virus knocked me flat. It was the sickest I have ever been in my life. I did not go to hospital. I suppose I am one of the lucky ones. John was sick too but in some ways I was worse. Now however, I seem to be more recovered than he, meaning I can run a little without having to catch my breath. He will need to work up to this. 

No doubt, these are extraordinary days. We are all living through an unprecedented moment in modern history. Our daily lives are greatly affected as we all wait in isolation distanced from our family and friends. ‘Social distancing’, effective from spreading the virus, does seed suspicion of every person encountered in a grocery store or on the footpath. This suspicion, ‘Does that person have the virus’ , breeds mistrust in our families, friendship and communities yet as a population we are being asked to place unquestioned faith and trust in our leaders, police and governments.  Freely and readily freedoms were given up as people stopped working and going about their daily lives in the hope that someone one day will come up with a vaccine so that life can ‘go back to normal’. As a people we trust that those freedoms will be returned to us. All around the world people wait for a better tomorrow.

Believing in God’s word, God’s story, as the beginning and end of everything, I wonder what is He wanting us to learn at this time? What lessons, what grace, what blessing, what change, what warning is there for us in this moment? What, if we wanted to listen, would he be whispering to us in this new found quietness we find ourselves in? For surely, in between our zoom sessions and Netflix binges, it is quiet. ‘Be still’, He once said. ‘Be still and know that I am God’. (Psalm 46:10)

So that’s what I am going to attempt to do. I am going to read my Bible and see that if, in these times, God does speak to me (and you) through it. I confess, I’ve read a lot of the Bible already and most of it hasn’t made much sense or given impetus for further thought but that was then, this is now. I am much more interested. Things change. Life obviously changes. But what I am pretty sure doesn’t change is the Bible, or the character of God. He remains the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow and He promises that while the ‘earth remains there will be planting and harvest, cold and night, summer and winter, day and night’. (Genesis 8:22)

This time will end. There will be an end to our isolation. There will be a day to get back to work. This coronavirus disaster will one day be a time to remember. What then, will you remember it for? There are opportunities here for this to be a time of generosity, love, compassion and learning. There are opportunities here to sow seeds that produce marvelous fruits of the spirit. There are opportunities here to look for God and for Him to be found by you. There are opportunities here for you to trust and grow in faith. God promises good things to those who love and follow him. There are opportunities here to change your life and the lives of those you love for the better. What will you do? Who will you become? Will this be a time of growth or a time of lament. The choice is yours. As always, the choice is yours. As for me and my family, we choose to serve the Lord. (Joshua 24:15)

Please know that I am not a theologian, rather just someone thinking through the Bible and please afford some grace to my writing. I confess I struggle to share my thoughts in writing, I err and um and ah over every written word. I have very little confidence in my ability to clearly express myself however, as these are extraordinary times, I will attempt to explain my Bible studies in the hope that someone, just one person even, will be encouraged by it.