- Tracy, a young believer, was encouraged by a mentor to read through the Bible each year, cover to cover. Her mentor explained that she would thereby continuously grow in her knowledge of the Lord and know how to live life in this fallen world. By reading through the Bible each year, she would read the book and receive rich answers about suffering and evil that are contained in it.
- Robert and his wife studied theology together when they were dating. At the time, they chose to accept God's sovereign will in their lives for the future. This early decision proved to be crucial when their son died tragically 20 years later. Through all the sorrow, heartache, confusion, and questions, they were able to find comfort and certainty knowing that the Lord is in control.
- Agnes, a godly older lady, has spent her life reading and studying scripture. Each time trials and suffering come, she consistently lives out her trust in the Lord. Her life is one that is a living testimony to who Christ is.
- Bill is a biblical counselor who stresses the importance of reading the doctrine of Providence. Having spent time with countless people who have experienced crisis, bereavement, suffering, and persecution, he knows how important it is to wrestle with who God is and how He is at work when we are suffering.
TRUTHS THAT SUSTAIN
These people have all been tremendous examples to me over the years. They have lived out the importance of knowing the Lord, studying scripture, and thinking in an in-depth manner about who God is and His relationship to this world. They have lived out the truths of what they have learned while enduring suffering in their own lives. And they have all known the Lord and His sustenance during those times.
A PLEA TO READ and STUDY
While these are encouraging and motivating stories, the opposite holds true for those of us who are not as intentional. This past year, for instance, I have seen how a pattern of consistently neglecting personal Bible reading and study can lead to stumbling and to wavering faith. When suffering comes, we can be left with little, if any, foundation to stand on if we have not been careful to include regular times of reading and study of God's word.
Times of suffering and pain are difficult for all of us. Yet, those who have consistently neglected Bible reading tend to hold a cultural perspective about what should bring fulfillment in life. Since health, material prosperity, good food, a social life, and a happy family are understood to be what makes people happy, if these are not there, or there is suffering of any kind, many question God's goodness and love. Surely if He is good and loving He would give these.
Friends, may I plead with you to read all of your Bible each year. Life-giving answers are found there, answers which help us live for the Lord and know Him, in all of life, especially when we are suffering and confused.
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