I'm Joni Eareckson Tada… talking about the Bible today!
As I often do, right? Well, my spinal cord injury so many years ago really changed the way I looked at God's Word. Before my accident, I viewed the Bible as a manual for righteous living; and yes, it is partly that, but mainly after my accident, I began to see the Bible as it describes itself, "the word of life." It's not merely about living… It doesn't just tell us how to live… It is life, like eating bread and drinking water. When I began to see God's word that way, it gave new meaning to, "man does not live on bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the Father."
I remember thinking about this when I was propped up in my hospital bed. My friend had placed a Bible on a little easel on top of my hospital tray table and with a mouth stick between my teeth and an eraser tip on the end, I was able to easily turn my pages, this way and that. I read the most marvelous things… not the least of which were the words of Jesus and how He would never leave me or desert me. As I prayerfully read the Bible, it was like I was ingesting it; it became "alive and active," just like it says in Hebrews, reproving and correcting, advising and counseling, warning and comforting and consoling and mainly, shaping our lives. And funny thing, because I could not put my mouth stick down and take notes, I had to (out of necessity) memorize a lot of what I was reading. It was inconvenient back then… but now in retrospect, I'm so glad I was forced into memorizing those verses.
Years have passed, and in that time, I’ve come to see that the Bible is teeming with the good, the bad, and the ugly of life. Almost 45 years later, I find myself drawn to those passages that speak to the ugliness of the human condition – if the core of God's plan is to rescue me from my sin, and to help me to hate it, and love the Lord, then I want his word to mirror my true condition; I don't want the sin-stained image to fade, but I want to partner with the Holy Spirit in changing that image; I want to be transformed from "glory to glory," like it says.
One more thing, the Bible is constantly trying to get us to look at life from an end-time perspective. Yes, life is hard; yes, it's only human to be discouraged; yes, depressing times will come. But life is wired to be that way – it's supposed to frustrate us. But isn’t it funny how we keep forgetting that? But God has wired it to be hard so that we might be pushed to look beyond and above the earthly plane to that glorious time when like it says in Isaiah 35 "sorrow and sighing shall flee away, and the anointed of the Lord shall obtain joy and gladness forever.” It's why I often encourage people struggling with depression to memorize Scriptures that have to do with hope and heaven for our “light and momentary affliction is achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs [disappointment and struggles and]” and all the other hardships in life.
So… what about those long ago, far away days when I would read the Bible holding a pencil between my teeth? Well, believe it or not, I occasionally still read that way, but now, I depend heavily on technology for the most part, whether it's my Dragon NaturallySpeaking voice activation program on my computer, different study aids or my iPad. By the way, I’d like to give you a CD of a message I gave on the Word of God and its healing effect in our lives. Go over to my radio page, would you, at joniandfriends.org and ask for your free copy. And in closing, remember that to study the Bible is to study God.
© Joni and Friends
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