Inky Pages

Sometimes the quiet is the loudest.

Sometimes a Bible can say so many things before you even open it.

Yesterday morning I considered mine as it sat on the table in the quiet of my kitchen. This fading, scratched up Message paraphrase I’ve had for I don’t know how long. It’s dear to me in a way no Bible I’ve owned has ever been. I look over and it means more to me than really I can say. And at times it says more than I really want to hear.

In practical terms its simply a book with pages and ink. But in terms of living it holds potential for life and death. Thin, inky pages telling us all the things Creator means for us to know. Things that sustain us, remake us, unfold and surprise us.  The things that rescue us.

Jesus, no matter the question, is the answer. Yet I’m afraid it’s just a Michael W. Smith song until we hit a wall in life that breaks us apart…until we find ourselves completely lost and helpless. Until we have absolutely run out of answers and plans and opinions we are simply not needy enough.

Marriage made me needy. Regret broke me. Miscarriages of justice and babies confused me. I strained against the pain because I thought I couldn’t handle it, and because I mistakenly thought spiritual prowess meant a strong front. But sinking into the truth of myself, of my life, brought grace, comfort and power I never would have known otherwise. My shiny, plum-colored Bible earned it’s scratchy fade along those broken roads.

I finally heard the voice of His Spirit when there was nothing left for me to say.

I finally felt the nearness of Jesus when I was all alone.

I finally learned new things when I admitted I knew nothing, really.

I finally understood joy and peace when I gave up merely pretending to have it.

I finally liked myself when I discovered He liked me already.

When I look at my Bible lying on the table I see we have a history. I know the pages are full of Love. I know the ways of Jesus in my life happened inside and I can never forget.

But I don’t want to write about a memory. 

So I sit down at my table and read these words.

Yeast, too, is a small thing, but it works its way through a whole batch of bread dough pretty fast.  So get rid of this “yeast.”  Our true identity is flat and plain, not puffed up with the wrong kind of ingredient.  1 Corinthians 5, the message

Creator confronts, divides and winnows.  He reveals the diagnosis and then provides the cure.  Intimacy with Jesus is no small thing. The yeast of life we all contend with…pride, fear, shame…spreads quickly and before we know it we are puffed up with the wrong ingredient.

I don’t want to live puffed up with offense, insecurity, fear, and selfishness.

I believe everything I truly need, everything I hope for, lies just behind my shattered pride.  On the other side of humble and transparent.  Every life-altering thing I  know of Jesus has come with a deflation of my opinions, my way, my rights.  Jesus has never let me down when I trust Him with everything I’m afraid I can’t control.  Has never left me empty when I pour myself out.  Has never left me sin-sick when I confess my need for grace.

He never leaves me broken but always welcomes me that way. 

And so I open my Bible, these inky pages that reveal and cure me if only I say yes.

Jesus,  make me flat and plain so you can build what you want of me. 

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