I struggle with reading the Bible, but not in the way you might think. I don’t struggle particularly with comprehension, or motivation, but with disruption. I LOVE delving into God’s word. I love how the narrative arc reveals itself bit by bit, I love how God displays a different facet of his personality in each paragraph, I love how each story allows us to wonder at God’s love from a different angle. But still, I struggle.
I’m a morning person. I find it much easier to get up early than to stay up late, so I set my alarm each morning to spend some ‘quiet time’ with God in Bible reading and prayer. And I LOVE this time… in theory. But no matter how early I set my alarm, my children always wake up with me. And no matter what cartoons I put on the TV for them, and whatever room I sneak off to, and however many admonitions I give them that ‘Mummy is reading the Bible and it is important and you are NOT to interrupt me,’ in they come, asking for snacks, or if they can plant a tree from the seed they just found inside this grape… etc.
And each time I’m interrupted, I’m tempted to give up. After all, I can’t really concentrate, and how can I hear God speaking to me when it’s not even quiet? It feels much easier to put down my Bible and pick up my phone. It feels easier to concentrate on the day’s headlines. To expend my mental energy on figuring out today’s Wordle rather than grappling with the text of Scripture.
But then, God quietly nudges me, in a way that usually (but not always) cuts through the Paw Patrol theme tune. He reminds me that it IS worth it. That his word is living an active, sharper than a two-edged sword. That the Holy Spirit is well capable of doing his work within me unhindered by any amount of questions from small humans. God reminds me that he sees my efforts, my heart. That he loves me regardless of anything I do, and he loves that I WANT to spend time with him.
God is a loving God who sees us. He knows our motivations. And he doesn’t approach us with a to-do list citing that we must read four chapters of the Bible twice a day and spend thirty minutes in silent prayer before we start loading the dishwasher and produce insightful notes on what we’ve read each day. No. I put those pressures on myself; they do not come from him. Instead, he approaches me with arms spread wide, reminding me that he loves me to the extent that he died on a cross for me. With wounds that say: come to me, I know you’re broken, that’s why I come to you.