I remember sitting outdoors with my bible as a young girl. My family was on vacation and I found a spot near the water to spend time with God. My bible was open to the book of James. It began to rain; sprinkle, drop, downpour. I looked down at the pages of my bible and made a decision; I would let the rain fall and crinkle the pages. This way my bible would always wear the marks of this day and I could always remember the special time I was having with God.
Years later that bible got dumped into a washing machine and came out obliterated. I cried. I loved that bible.
Later in life I had a different encounter with the bible. It was one where people were criticizing my life and others through flipping through the pages of this ancient book and saying “it’s not biblical.” The pounding of a religious fist came down to crush personal experiences with God in the name of the bible. I began to lose my love for the bible, even as I was falling more in love with Jesus.
A few years ago, I had a personal disappointment with the bible that worsened my existing distance from it. I was in a time of great need and had marked my bible cover to cover with promises of hope for something specific to happen. That hope was drowned in a tragedy. In my view, the bible told me that something would happen, and the exact opposite happened. For months I couldn’t read my bible without being met by a fierce feeling of betrayal.
I sat with a trusted spiritual leader one afternoon and confessed, “I love Jesus, but I don’t like the bible.” I told her how I questioned the bible’s origin, its validity and its relevance. “Most of all,” I expressed, “I despise when it is used to enslave people in the name of a liberating God.” She stared back at me knowing that I was leading people in a biblical setting. “You may want to sort this out, Katie.” I knew that and I tried. But the hard feelings towards my soft leather bible remained.
Through all this, I can remember seeing people who had worn their bibles thin through intense use and I felt embarrassed by my own. I didn’t want to open my ten-year-old bible in front of people for fear they would see that it still looked brand new. I wished I loved my bible, but in all honesty - I didn’t.
Just over a year ago, I was sitting in a bible class and the teacher felt impressed to stop his lecture and do some ministry. He spoke to my class, “If anyone has used the Word of God to hurt you instead of liberate you, I want to apologize to you on their behalf. That's not what God gave the bible for.” The statement hurled into my spirit and I began to cry.
Okay. There it was.
The bible had hurt me.
… and people had hurt me with the bible.
How in the world do you heal from that?
Meet the Author.
The journey began. I decided to only read the bible in conjunction with a meeting with its’ Author. I’ve been falling in love with my bible – ever since.
This past week I read through most of the New Testament in a few days. My eyes were sore from reading for so many hours, and I couldn’t get enough of it. The more I read, the more I wanted to read. The bible is unraveling to me as threads of gold; wisdom for life, art for application, story for inspiration. I can’t get enough of it.
Friends, my relationship to my bible is healing. It’s been a long time coming. I am finding it so strengthening. My life is different when I'm in the word. My nights are more peaceful, my days feel more aligned. Maybe someday I’ll have a worn out bible with marked up pages like some of the people I so admire.
In the meantime, I can at least say …
To those who have been hurt by the bible, bored by the bible, apathetic towards the bible, disappointed by the bible, and in all honesty – love Jesus but could care less about the bible …
I get it.
And … I can honestly say –
Your bible is worth picking up again.
It’s worth spending time in again.
It’s worth falling in love with – again.
The Word reveals the Author.
He is so worth knowing.
Katie Luse is a speaker and writer who is passionate about navigating life with eyes on a hunt for beauty.